Theoria Cason: Inspirational Student Motivator


Her Campus (HC): Who are you?

Theoria Cason (TC): “I am a great many things: a sister, a daughter, a friend, a scholar, an advisor, an instructor, an adventurer, a globetrotter, a believer… I could on and on. I will say that as a native North Carolinian I share my southern charm and smile with everyone I meet; and my faith influences the manner in which I engage all individuals. As I firmly believe is it important to let my light shine by speaking life in to the atmosphere. When I was a young child, before school each morning, my mother would tell me to remember “The Little Engine That Could.” In high school, she’d tell me to “go forth and do great exploits!” To this day, both of these charges are a part of my personal motto: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…I think, therefore I am.”


HC: What do you currently do at Cornell?

TC: “So many things…officially I serve as the Residence Hall Director for Ujamaa Residential College. However, I also advise several student organizations, serve on a few committees, and I frequently collaborate with many campus partners to foster the success of individual students, student organizations, and the community overall. My day-to-day work schedule is somewhat unpredictable. I always have a plan, but I never really know when something or someone will pop-up.”


HC: Why did you decide to work for Cornell?

TC: “Cornell is great institution; but there are lots of great institutions around the world. I specifically came to Cornell to work in Ujamaa Residential College; this community was the only selling point for me.”


HC: What is the best part about your job?

TC: “The best part of my job is, an always has been the work I do with students. I appreciate having an opportunity to contribute to their growth and development. I like working to help them further develop skills that will equip them to be hard working, thoughtful, strategic young adults. I also like learning from them. There are so many students who come to school, with great ambitions. Many of who, have seemingly overcome insurmountable obstacles, and others who are still in the process of overcoming. They share their stories with me and I feel inspired. They share their jokes with me and we laugh out loud. They spend their time with me, and we grow together.”


HC: What is it like working with students every day?

TC: “Working with students is fun, rewarding, inspiring, enlightening and exhausting all at the same time!”


HC: Any advice for new Cornellians?

TC: “Iyanla Vanzant once said, comparison is an act of violence against the self. With that in mind I offer this piece of advice- try not to be consumed by the allusion of put-togetherness often portrayed by your peers. Collectively, you all are a group of young adults who are trying to figure things out. No one is perfect, so I propose you give yourself the grace to change, learn to forgive yourself when you make mistakes—and extend those courtesies to your peers.”


HC: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

TC: “No one, I like me - I’m awesome!”


HC: What is your favorite food?

TC: “Generally speaking I have a global palate I like dishes from various countries in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Spain. Me encanta la comida de España, yum! With that said, I don’t really have a favorite; I like all types of foods. However growing up in a costal state, seafood was a staple part of my childhood, so crab legs, prawns, shrimp, scallops, oysters, muscles, fish and seaweed all bring back fond memories. Chances are if it swims or comes from the ocean, I’ve probably tried it!”


HC: What do you do for fun?

TC: “I love to travel to new countries. I make a point to visit at least one new country every year. When I’m in Ithaca, I like to grab lunch or dinner with friends; and occasionally I may whistle at one of the local karaoke spots ;-).”


HC: What is your favorite quote?

TC: “I could not choose one they all resonate with me:

‘The morals of a nation rise and fall with the standards of its women.’

- Unknown

‘Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.’- Maimonides

‘Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’-Marianne Williamson”