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Hello,

My name is Kelsey Jenkins

She/Her/Hers

I am currently a graduating Master's student at North Carolina State University in the College of Education’s Higher Education Administration program. My focus is on student wellbeing and belonging as it relates to campus health and resources. My primary research interests are in gender minority students mental health, food and housing insecurity, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, campus health inclusive policies, and public health services. I have a background in academic advising and student services within the community college system. 

Philosophy Statement

As a higher education professional, it is my personal belief that the purpose of higher education is to ensure that all students are heard and that they feel a sense of belonging, both inside and outside of the classroom. It is my belief that in order for students to learn effectively, their identities and intersectionality must be recognized through their unique integration of skills, talents, and desires. In my research, I have focused on wellbeing and belonging as it relates to gender minority students. Before true learning can take place, the physiological hierarchy of needs of the students must be met. Without proper resources of food, water, shelter, clothing, and sleep, students will not be able to find a sense of belonging on the college campus. I believe it is my responsibility as a higher education professional to advocate for inclusive housing policies, equity in student income, access to food pantries, and inclusive counseling services on campus. 

In my role, as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion graduate assistant, I am committed to creating and cultivating a campus culture of belonging. It is my goal to create a supportive, welcoming environment in which all students feel respected, valued, and empowered to succeed, no matter their background or identity. As a previous academic advisor, I am aware that students arrive at college with a variety of identities and beliefs, which may have a significant impact on their experience as a student. The advice I provide to my students will be tailored to meet their individual needs and address their identities and beliefs as best I can. I will acknowledge and respect my students' identities and beliefs in my interactions with them.

The goal of my research is to further my understanding of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how it relates to belonging and gender minorities on campus in hopes of advancing my education to a Ph.D. program in equal opportunity and justice. As part of this opportunity, I plan to contribute written research that illustrates how the political climate and socioeconomic status of today affect the unique needs of gender minority students. It is my compassion for others, my creative outlet in the world, and my thirst for knowledge that will help me thrive in this setting. I will gain invaluable insight into student culture of belonging from working in the field of higher education in between my pursuit of a terminal degree. In my career, I hope to make a difference in higher education by advocating for students struggling to make ends meet. I intend to do this by applying to job positions that align with supporting students' needs and by applying to Ph.D. programs that emphasize social justice. 

Ultimately, my professional philosophy is that I would like to create a world where every student regardless of gender, race, or age, will feel like they belong on campus, have a safe place to sleep, have access to nutritious food, and receive counseling and healthcare when needed. 
 

My NC State Cohort

The community I have found at NC State University has molded me into the person I am today. 

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My Strengths

What unique contributions do I make based on my CliftonStrengths? CliftonStrengths assessment identifies a person's natural talents and capacities to perform at excellence.

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Input

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Learner

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Intellection

People with strong Input talents bring tools that can facilitate growth and performance. They love to provide relevant and tangible help to others. 

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People with strong Learner talents not only love to learn, but they also intuitively know how they learn best. They can absorb information and knowledge quickly.

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They can serve as a sounding board, helping others discover new ways to solve problems or enhance the quality of their work.

Achiever

Achievers have a constant need for attainment. They have an internal fire burning inside them. It pushes them to do and achieve more. 

Connectedness

People strong in the Connectedness theme build bridges between people and groups, showing them how to relate to and rely on one another. 

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