ACEL Distinguished Senior: Deja Reid

Deja Reid is a senior studying community leadership with a specialization in community and extension education. From Columbus, Ohio, Deja is a graduate of Columbus Alternative High School. She is one of 14 seniors from the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership to be selected as an ACEL Distinguished Seniors.

Why did you choose your major?
I chose community leadership as my major because I was very interested in the idea of education for kids outside of the classroom. My experience in the Homework Help Center at the Columbus Metropolitan Library showed me how much I appreciated being in an environment where kids sought help with their homework and where the community stepped in to help. I saw community leadership as a way to bring together my passions of education, working with youth, and my community.

Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?
Ohio State was my ultimate choice for college because of the vast opportunities I saw for myself here. I did not have a major at the time I enrolled, so I wanted a university that had as many majors as possible. I also wanted to feel comfortable and supported as a Black student, so the Multicultural Center and Office of Diversity and Inclusion were big draws for me.

What classes did you enjoy the most?
The classes I enjoyed the most were elective general education courses. I took a R&B and Hip-Hop course that was taught by Dr. Ted McDaniel. I also enjoyed my Intro to Sociology course with Dr. Eric Schoon and the Making America Modern history course with Dr. Bart Elmore.

What student organizations have you been involved in as a student?
I started freshman year in the Mount Leadership Society scholars program and have been involved with that all four years. I was a committee member in the wellness and activities committee, then during my second year, I co-chaired the leadership and training committee where we developed and executed leadership events for the students in the program. I also have been a Diversity Ambassador (DA) in Undergraduate Admissions since my freshman year. As DAs, we engage with high school students who are in underrepresented groups here on campus. We share about the university, help with applications, and field any questions about being a student at Ohio State.

What internships did you complete and how did they help you decide what you did or did not want to do after graduation?
I’ve had two internships during my college time. The first was during the summer before my junior year at New Haven Reads in New Haven, CT. This internship was my first experience seeing behind the scenes of a nonprofit going. This time was great for me because it gave me more experience working with kids in a non-school setting which is what I aspire to do. During this time, I created lessons and taught mini classes in math and drama. It was a great experience for me to hone skills in lesson planning and leading groups of children.

My current internship is with Junior Achievement of Central Ohio on the Marketing and Development team. Before beginning this internship, I had little experience in marketing and had no idea what development even was. Now, I know that marketing and communications is probably not for me, but I could see myself involved in development in a nonprofit.

What stands out as your best college memory?
My best college memories are from the large campus events. The first one that comes to mind is the Multicultural Center Family Affair cookout during Ohio State’s Welcome Week. It was always a great time to visit student organization tables, eat good food, and fellowship with the Black OSU community. Of course, attending football games as a student will always be a great memory. I was able to watch the 2019 Homecoming game from the President’s Box and got to meet President Drake and Brutus!

Why should someone else consider your major at Ohio State?
Community leadership is a great major that can translate to many lines of work. While most people with my major plan to work in extension or 4-H, I plan to go into nonprofit work. The major offers courses that are useful for many career paths and it also time to add minors that can enhance the major coursework.

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