GVFaces: Jakia Marie

April 4, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 15)
Article by Clemence Daniere

Jakia Marie standing outside the DeVos Center

Jakia Marie, assistant professor and program coordinator of African & African American Studies

Photo Credit: Amanda Pitts

Jakia Marie, assistant professor and program coordinator of African & African American Studies (AAAS), wants her students to create the skills and self-motivation to be able to visualize their own potential. 

As a faculty member, Marie said she likes to expand learning outside of the classroom and is grateful for the support the department and Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies provide for her teaching style. 

For her African American Studies class, Marie and her students traveled to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

“I came back to Grand Valley because the faculty here set an example of rigor and excellence, while knowing how to push students to their potential," Marie said. "As a student, it changed my life in ways I didn’t expect, so to have the opportunity to do that for other students was a no-brainer.” 

Jakia Marie, ’13, ’16, earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies (now Integrative Religious and Intercultural Studies) and a master's degree in higher education with an emphasis in college student affairs leadership.

Marie joined AmeriCorps for a year following graduation and then returned to GVSU for graduate school before enrolling at the University of Louisville for a doctoral degree in Pan-African studies and second master's degree in anthropology. 

As the AAAS program coordinator, Marie works to foster community partnerships and builds connections with the city of Grand Rapids, which can lead to internships and more for students. 

She also hosts programs and events at GVSU, such as AAAS's now-signature event, Wing Wednesday, which uses good food to build good relationships. All students, faculty and staff are invited to Lake Ontario Hall every fourth Wednesday of the month to hang out and build fellowship. 

Marie partners with other departments on campus, like the LGBT Resource Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement, to host larger events for students. On March 17, the program held its first "For the Culture" quiz bowl about Africa and the African Diaspora.

“I have worked with and will continue to work with other offices on campus to not only put on events but to help get students engaged in high-impact practices. Sometimes students may not know what they want, but if they have a relationship with the people around them, they are more willing to try it,” said Marie. 

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This article was last edited on April 4, 2023 at 2:3 p.m.

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