Q & A with Erika Buckley — New Assistant Director of Global Diversity

Position: Assistant Director of Global Diversity, in the Intercultural Affairs Office
Age: 26
Where are you from?
I’m from Southfield, where I’ve spent the majority of my home life. I’ve lived in China, Korea, Monroe, Detroit. I went to school in Detroit for eleven years. I lived in Miami. I was in third grade and my mom went to get a visa to go to Cuba to get her mother and bring her back to the U.S. I’m half-Cuban and half-Jamaican.
Share a memorable experience you had abroad.
There was an old man who worked in our office building. He was the maintenance guy who supervised the karaoke bar upstairs. One day we were on the elevator. He took my hand and made a gesture that I thought was really crude. Then my coworker wasn’t sure what was going on, so she asked him to show her what he did to my hand. We made sure we talked to the in-group. We asked two female Korean coworkers if this was crude in Korean culture, and they said yes. And there were Korean gender roles at work, so we asked a male Korean coworker if this gesture was crude. When he saw us do it, his face turned beet red. We asked him if he would go speak to the man. He and three other male coworkers went upstairs to tell him to stop sexually harassing me.
How did you hear about the job?
Ironically, a classmate sent it to me in an e-mail. She saw the description and said it “looked like me.”
Where did you go to school?
For undergrad, I went to Grand Valley State University for four years. My degree was a B.A. in Psychology. Prior to that, I went to Southfield-Lathrup High School. For graduate school, I’m at Eastern Michigan University. My degree will be a Master’s of Applied Sociology. I’m currently working on my Master’s Thesis.
What was your academic focus?
I like culture—that’s my biggest thing. Previous research I’ve done includes cultural weddings. Currently, I’m doing identity work: changing people’s ideas about how they see themselves. My Master’s thesis is about Second Generation Chinese Americans and their experiences, voices, stories, and identities. I am allowing them to share their concepts of self in modern America.
What is your impression of the Albion College Campus?
It’s very friendly. I appreciate the staff taking the time to make me feel welcome. That’s the nice thing about small towns or small universities: people take the time to get to know you.
What are your goals/incentives at Albion? What projects are you currently working on?
In some ways, my position is similar to the work I did as a graduate assistant. The impact of what I saw would be better at Albion College. When a campus is smaller, the ripple effect is bigger. Currently I am working on Black History Month, Asian/Pacific Islander History Month, and Smooth Transitions. I am always going to be trying to make sure Albion students feel as welcome as possible.
What makes you well-suited for the position? What do you think you bring to Albion College?
Getting a feel for people is very important, working in Student Affairs. Sometimes, students won’t express things. For freshman and sophomores, they’re just getting to know themselves. Their emotional intelligence isn’t as strong. My personality is very engaging. I feel like everybody has the right to be cared for and care for somebody. I like to facilitate that as best as possible.

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