"I think it is important to recognize and celebrate the thousands of important contributions people of African descent made to not only American and world history but even to our communities and culture today."
“I also had great professors and support from staff who helped me navigate the realities of being an ‘international’ student, a Black student and a student in such a challenging field of study,” Toyo says.
As a graduate with a degree in biological sciences, Toyo hopes to pursue a career in the medical field and work abroad. Because of her experiences on campus, she is completing her service year through AmeriCorps as the VISTA coordinator of NKU R.O.C.K.S.
“The NKU R.O.C.K.S. program is specifically important in making sure African American and Black freshmen have the resources and support they need to succeed and eventually graduate,” Toyo says.
Overall, Toyo says that the Office of African American Student Initiatives (AASI) offers a safe space for students to connect and open opportunities for Black students to receive leadership training.
Her advice to first year-students is to reach out and make connections.
“Utilize your resources,” Toyo says. “There are so many free resources available to you—just for you because your experience here matters.”
Toyo also owes a lot to her mother, who served in the Ivory Coast helping hundreds of students learn about the United States and develop their leadership skills. Watching her mother's hard work inspired Toyo to chase her dreams.
“She contributed tremendously to me being here and doing the work I get to do now,” Toyo says. “She and other role models in my community passed on a legacy of excellence, service and passion.”
When Toyo reflects on Black History Month, she thinks of the families and Black heroes who contributed to everyone's daily lives.
“I think it is important to recognize and celebrate the thousands of important contributions people of African descent made to not only American and world history but even to our communities and culture today,” Toyo says.