The Colors of Colorado State: Janaye Matthews

Janaye Matthews

Hometown: Aurora, CO

Major: 2nd year Biomedical/Electrical Engineering with a minor in Ethnic Studies

Hobbies: Reading Historical and Diversity Books

Involvement: BAACC (Black African American Cultural Center), National Society of Black Engineers, United Women of Color

 

Who is your biggest role model?

 

“My dad! It’s typical to choose a parent, but he found a way to give back to the black community despite distance. He was able to use his abilities as an engineer to introduce possibilities and self love in the black community. He taught me that being black is normal and you shouldn’t be afraid of it. My blackness is a good, different thing that is something to be proud of.”

 

How do you identify yourself on campus?

 

“I am a black woman engineer. It’s the basics of who I am.” Janaye simply states. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

“My goal is to be finishing graduate school. I’m hoping to pursue a career in international health care and to create ties for the communities I grew up in. I want to have these ties to help those who have helped me.”

 

How has being apart of the diverse community at CSU affect you?

 

“It's honestly the only reason I am at this school. I thought about transferring my first year, but integrating myself into the diverse communities helped me ultimately stay. It has given me a way to feel apart of this community. Being here helps me be comfortable with who I am and allows myself to make a change for people in the community. It has lead and taught me as a black person, women and engineer. It’s become such an undeniable part of me and I don't know how i lived without knowing my identity. It has empowered me in keeping this power coming, it helps this effect to continue in other people like me.”

 

Is there anything you feared before becoming a student at CSU?

 

“My biggest thing was not fitting in. The diversity in my high school was similar to CSU, but I knew I had to make an adjustment. I had no idea who I was going to be.”

 

Why did you choose CSU?

 

“I’m on a scholarship here at CSU, so it made sense financially. But finding the community where I felt at home gave me the power to stay here.”

 

Why did you choose to be involved in BAACC?

 

“After my first year, I realized how much love and support this community had given me to grow. My first experience here could be similar to a lot more kids coming in and knowing that I can help incoming black students like me is something I really love.”

 

How has being is BAACC helped you/improve your college experience?

 

“It gives the opportunity to learn outside the classroom. Being an engineer student, classes and professors don’t talk about current events and happenings on the campus.” Matthews states. She believes that being in BAACC as helped her expand her perspective and knowledge, whether it was on events in Fort Collins or diversity issues.

 

What advice do you have for an incoming students? Students hesitant about choosing CSU?

 

“Find someone who’s willing to have an honest conversation with you.” Janaye advises, “I try to be as honest as possible. There's nothing in college you have to do alone. Ultimately, if you emerge yourself in it, it should be dope.”

 

We would like to thank Janaye for this interview. Not only was she lovely, but a true powerhouse that is improving CSU each and everyday. Check her out at the BAACC office and show your support! We can't wait to see where her next adventure takes her!