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Laying a Brick

“This celebration is an opportunity for us to reflect not only on the past and present but also look ahead to our future.”
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Carlous Yates, director of African American Student Initiatives
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For Carlous Yates, working with students is more than just a job. It's his passion, and he can't imagine doing anything else.

The Savoyard, Kentucky, native, who became the director of Northern Kentucky University’s Office of African American Student Initiatives (AASI) in late 2018, understands what it’s like to be a minority student.

And he's doing what he can at NKU to support students who were just like him.

“I was a first-generation student from a rural area,” he says. “I went to the University of Louisville, so I know what it means to be a Black student at a predominately white institution. It was a culture shock for me. That's why I work in higher education. I wanted to give back and be that leader I wish I had during my undergraduate career.” 
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"It’s important to have affinity programs on college campuses to support different populations. It provides students with a sense of belonging—a place they can call theirs and be their authentic selves."

Whether he's overseeing AASI organizations or mentoring NKU R.O.C.K.S. students, Yates puts everything he has into his role on campus.

“I’m always thinking about how I can enhance the quality of student lives,” he says. “It’s important to have affinity programs on college campuses to support different populations. It provides students with a sense of belonging—a place they can call theirs and be their authentic selves. Students can come in with the mindset that while NKU is a predominately white university, they can bring a piece of their culture with them and enhance what’s already here."

For Yates, diversity is not only necessary but essential for everyone on campus to thrive. That's why he's so passionate about celebrating Black History Month at NKU.

“We live Black History Month every day. This celebration is an opportunity for us to stop and reflect not only on the past and present but also look ahead to our future,” he says. “It’s a way for us to celebrate those who came before us and paved the way for us but also look ahead at what’s to come. It’s an ongoing journey, and as you walk through life, you’re always laying a brick for the next person."
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