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Changing the Family Trajectory

Amari Johnson
Amari Johnson chose Northern Kentucky University because of scholarship opportunities and the proximity of her hometown in Fairfield, Ohio. She didn’t expect that she would meet her best friends right away at the NKU R.O.C.K.S Institute.

Establishing relationships early on was crucial for Amari as she began her freshman year as a first-generation college student.

“Having AASI and NKU R.O.C.K.S. on campus is more important than words can describe,” she says. “As a Black student who grew up in a predominately white community with minimal diversity, it brought comfort to know that the university I chose was intentional about creating safe spaces for people that looked like me. Black students need that space to fellowship, to relate to and to communicate with others like themselves.” 

The history major—with minors in Black studies, English and entrepreneurship—enjoys the opportunities she has been given since her arrival on campus. She’s worked closely with Dr. Michael Washington in the Department of History to complete research. She’s also a member of Nu Upsilon Black Women’s Honorary and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

"Black students need that space to fellowship, to relate to and to communicate with others like themselves."

And last summer, she completed a nonprofit consulting and marketing internship to get her foot in the door of the business world.

After graduation, Amari hopes to attend law school and open her own practice. She might even write a book or two, she says.

But for now, she’s doing finishing up her degree and focusing on getting more experience.

“There are so many things that I have dreamed of doing that have come to fruition since being here. Getting my degree means changing the trajectory of my family. I am a first-generation college student and being in college has opened doors for me that were closed in the faces of my relatives because of their limited education. Now, I can set an example that college is possible.”

About This Article

February 2023

Written by
Jayna Morris ('22)
Editor, NKU Magazine

Photography by
Scott Beseler