My Student Experience: Multicultural Youth Educators Network Provides Community for Future Educators of Color
When Evi Ng, a sophomore elementary education major, first arrived at NC State, she hoped to connect with organizations on campus designed for students of color. At the College of Education, she found that in the Multicultural Youth Educators Network (MYEN), a student organization designed to connect future educators and youth advocates.
“It was nice that it was in the College of Education,” Ng said.
Now, she serves as MYEN’s social media and publicity chair, helping to promote events that bring students together. This academic year, the organization has hosted In the Mix with MYEN, a social event to raise awareness about the organization, and the Students of Color Collective, a study hall held in the College of Education’s Media and Education Technology Resource Center (METRC). Dre Jordan, a sophomore technology, engineering and design education major who serves as MYEN’s president, said his goal has been to create connections.
“We’re really just focused on building community this year and beyond,” Jordan said.
As part of that, he hopes to expand the organization’s reach across campus and provide even more students of color with a space where they can feel welcome. In January, MYEN set up a button-making station in Talley Student Union to celebrate International Day of Education and raise the organization’s visibility.
“It definitely helped MYEN be seen university-wide,” Jordan said.
By expanding its reach, MYEN was able to draw a larger-than-expected attendance at a panel in February centered on supporting Black students in education. The panel featured educators at NC State with ties to the College of Education, including Jai Jackson, assistant vice provost for the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity; Trisha Mackey, director of the Transformational Scholars Program; Alicia Whitley, Teaching Fellows graduate assistant and a doctoral student in the Teacher Education and Learning Sciences: Literacy and English Language of Arts Education concentration; and Keith Martin, senior academic advisor and doctoral student in the Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development :Higher Education concentration.
“We have some wonderful Black educators in the College of Education,” Jordan said.
As part of the event, panelists shared why they pursued careers in education and discussed the challenges and successes of Black students in K-12 education. There was also an opportunity for attendees to speak with panelists. Jordan said he appreciated the opportunity to learn from educators with experience in creating spaces for students of color.
“The main thing [I took away] is that support and empowerment of Black students is really important, and it’s crucial in order to build an inclusive classroom environment,” Jordan said.
At NC State, Jordan said he has come to depend on his community within the College of Education, and he said he hopes MYEN can play a similar role for others.
“It offers space for students of color in the College of Education, which is really beneficial,” he said.
Ng has appreciated having that space, too, as well as the opportunity to advocate for others.
“I think it’s really good, especially in the College of Education … to have a group of people who are in our field and who are all working towards a goal of being the best educators and best people we can for our future students and people in society,” Ng said.