Campus Celeb: Courtney Michelle Parker

Meet campus celebrity Courtney Michelle Parker. She is a sophomore, Political Science Major on the Pre-Law Track minoring in Russian from Woodbridge, VA.  Her favorite artists are Bryson Tiller and Summer Walker. Her birthday is January 25th. Purple is her favorite color and summer is her favorite season.  She lives by Romans 8:31 - “What then shall we say to these things, If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

HC: What does S.L.I.M. stand for, and what is it? 

CMP: Sparking Languages In Minorities, S.L.I.M., was created for college students to help expose critical languages such as Russian, Mandarin, and Arabic to minorities of all ages.  It is mainly geared toward the youth. We work with the local Hampton area Boys and Girls club. Our goal is to expose young students (middle schoolers or younger) to critical languages through arts, crafts, games, food, and fun.

 

 

What birthed the idea for the organization? 

In order to attend my high school I had to pick a foreign language and I chose Russian automatically because I wanted to learn something different. I was not aware of all the doors that it would open for me. I immediately fell in love with the language; I enjoyed my teacher and fellow classmates even though many of them did not look like me. I always had people (of all ethnicities) ask me, “Why would you want to learn Russian? You’re black!” Many people do not understand that if you take the time to learn a critical language, it becomes an avenue for so many job opportunities. For example, the state department offers a starting salary of $50,000 a year after earning a degree in that language. Important information like this is something that needs to be shared with young minorities, especially those who come from less fortunate areas, because learning one language can take them to new heights and can expose them to great experiences throughout their lifetime. I designed S.L.I.M. to expand the mental capabilities of young minority groups and to set them up for financial success. 

 

Has there been a particularly significant moment so far?

I had a “wow” moment for the first time when I entered the boys and girls club. One little boy saw my face and ran and told all his friends, “It’s time for languages!” He had a huge smile on his face. That moment made me tear up because I was overjoyed to see a young African American male excited to learn critical languages. 

 

 

What is it like to be in S.L.I.M.? 

The environment is definitely light and child friendly. We have hosted activities such as backpack decorating.  Each child put their name on his or her backpack in Arabic and Russian. During the holiday season, we had a Christamas party where the kids got to take home ornaments they decorated that said, “Happy Holidays” in Russian and Arabic. Most S.L.I.M workshops last about two hours. SLIM members and I visit the Boys and Girls club once every two weeks. 

 

Can people still join S.L.I.M.? 

Yes! We are seeking Hampton students who have a passion for foreign language, especially in any critical languages or African languages. If you wish to join S.L.I.M. please email me at: [email protected]

 

A MOMENT OF GRATITUDE

"Big shout out to all the members of S.L.I.M.! You all have truly helped me manifest this dream. I am so honored and privileged to be able to work with such knowledgeable young black men and women! I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know! Keep doing ya thing!

Love, 

Courtney Parker"

 

Interviewer/Director of Photography: Drew Miles ; Photographer: Olivia Mitchell