4 Powerful Black Women at DePauw

February is Black History Month! Last week we featured four lovely women on our Instragm, but here is a little more about their stories and their experiences as Black women at DePauw.

Dr. B!

Tamara Beauboeuf is a professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. This semester she is teaching Educating Women, which is both a WGSS and EDUC course. She is also currently serving a second year as Dean of Faculty. In 2009, she wrote a book called Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman: Voice and the Embodiment of a Costly Performance. Dr. B was raised in Orange County, NY, at the base of the Catskill Mountains. She lives by this wisdom from her mother: “When you settle for less than you deserve, you get less than you settled for.”

Her Campus: Who is your female role model right now? Why?

Dr. B: I'm really drawn to visual representations of women and the worlds they make possible.  Some of my favorite artists are Nivia Gonzalez, Thalia Took, and Claudia Olivos. I love how their art reminds us that conviction, wisdom, vision and love are human capacities that many women worldwide have long embodied.

HC: What are your experiences as a woman of color in your everyday life and as a professor at DePauw?

Dr. B: I've been at DePauw for 18 years, and the best way I can describe being a woman of color on this campus is that I do a lot of what philosopher Maria Lugones terms "world"-travelling. Each day, I'm moving into and out of different communities, and each of them has particular expectations of me. Some interactions are trying, but others are playful and invigorating. As we collectively embrace the goal of being a great place to learn, live and work, I would think that "world"-travelling would become a life skill that we would encourage all at DePauw to develop. My colleague in WGSS Leigh-Anne Goins speaks powerfully about the centrality of belonging for growing, and I would think that becoming "world"-travellers would enable us to extend belonging to all. 

Brittany Davis!

Brittany is a junior from Indianapolis with a neuroscience major on the pre-med track. She also has minors in Spanish, computer science, and global health. Brittany is the president of the Pretty and Poised Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is also the parliamentarian of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Vice President of L.A.C.E. (Ladies and Allies for Cross-Cultural Education). In 2017, she founded a new organization on campus known as SoCiS (Students of Color in STEM) and currently serves as president of this organization as well.

HC: What is your favorite quote or words that you live by?

Brittany: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -Philippians 3:14  

HC: Can you give us a fun fact about yourself?

Brittany: I love 90s R&B music.

HC: Who is a powerful woman role model in your life or from history, and why do you look up to her?

Brittany: A powerful role model for me are the strong Black women in my family and friend group. Specifically my grandmother, Jessie Lee Mines, has been very influential in my life and has sculpted the person I am today. She has led by example, having raised her children on her own while continuing to educate herself, exemplifying determination. Furthermore, she has been a vital role model throughout raising me, stressing the importance of education and integrity at an early age. In a time where education and employment were both limited for women and people of color, my grandmother persevered in creating a path for herself. A verse she has instilled in me is Psalms 23:1, which states, “The Lord is my helper; I shall not want." This faith, drive and dedication is exactly what motivates me to make positive decisions and work towards excellence.

HC: Can you speak on what it is like to be a student of color on DePauw's campus?

Brittany: To be a student of color at DePauw, particularly a Black woman, is challenging in that you have to balance the rigorous coursework provided from your classes, extracurriculars and other life stressors while living and working in a space that was not designed for you. With each racially motivated "bias" incident that occurs on campus and in the surrounding community, students of color have to continue to push through extra layers of discrimination and negativity that our peers that are not of color do not have to deal with. Moreover, as a young Black woman pursuing a STEM field, I am also reminded of this daily, when I look around the room in my classes and notice that I am one of few women of color (and often the only woman of color) in the class. Understanding my circumstances, however, I do feel motivated to go above and beyond my peers. Knowing that there are barriers already set against me solely based on my identities, I feel the need to work even harder and to also constantly be supportive of other people of color, especially women. 

 

Courtney Oliver!

Courtney Oliver is a senior philosophy major from Indianapolis. Next year she will be attending law school at Indiana University McKinney. She loves making videos for and about my friends in her free time. Courtney also is interested in politics! Her role models are Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah and Landon Romano.

HC: Can you speak on what it’s like to be a woman at DePauw?

Courtney: It’s hard because in some spaces you are not taken seriously or feel like you’re not being listened to or cared about. Choosing your friends is a bit more difficult than I expected. But the people I surround myself with are amazing, and we are a great support system for each other. Shoutout DePauw’s Finest—especially my sib. #blacklivesmatter

Maeva Veillard!

Maeva Veillard is a senior global health and French double major. As an immigrant living in the inner city of Boston, Maeva embraced the rich cultural backgrounds that made up her neighborhood, but she could not help but identify the various disparities that plagued her community. In high school, during her morning commute from Hyde Park to Lexington, she noticed stark differences in both communities. She witnessed firsthand the unfair disparities the inner city residents faced on a daily basis. It was then that she made a commitment to herself to not only shed light on these disparities, but also help eradicate them. Throughout her college career, she has taken a wide array of classes such as Human Cultures, Public Health in Africa, Introduction to Africana Studies, Discussing Difference, and a number of others that have helped her identify and address the complexities of race, identity, and morality and its place in society. After being impressed by her in class, her biology professor asked Maeva to conduct research on heart regeneration with Giant Danio fish. Following that summer, Maeva served as a fifth grade math teacher at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School with the Uncommon Schools network. Maeva also served as a youth advocate leader at the Immigrant Family Services Institute in Roslindale, where she led workshops on race and immigration in America. Her love for learning about cultures and health fuels her passion to implement culturally sensitive practices in the inner city to better help and integrate minority residents in the United States healthcare system.

HC: Who is a woman role model for you?

Maeva: My mother. She is the sweetest person I know. She goes above and beyond for others. Nothing is ever "too much" for her to do. She is the epitome of strength and resilience in the face of adversity. She handles anything thrown at her with grace. If I could grow up to be half the woman she is, I'll be a pretty incredible woman.

HC: Can you speak on what it’s like to be a woman of color at DePauw?

Maeva: For me it's about learning to bloom where you are planted. I had to realize that although I was socialized in White spaces growing up, I would never fit the mold of a "White woman." Once I accepted that, I was able to embrace everything that was me. Being a Black woman at DePauw means being unapologetic about what you have to say, what you believe, and who you are. It's about understanding that you belong here. For me, I sort of see my time here in a philosophical manner. I believe that someone is touched by my presence in every classroom I've been a part of, whether it be a professor or a student. Being a Black woman at DePauw to me means understanding that I have magic and incredible history running through my veins and with every step I take on this campus, I leave a little bit of that magic wherever I go.