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Black World Studies at Miami University

Alumni Profile: Sheryl Long (Class of 2009)

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  • major in Black World Studies

"My name is Sheryl Long and I am extremely proud of my major in Black World Studies and the knowledge it has given me.

"In my profession, as a sales professional and property manager in multifamily housing, I come into contact with people from all over the world: people from all races, creeds, and religious backgrounds; people with experiences that are different from my own. I welcome these encounters, because Miami's Black World Studies curriculum taught me to communicate from a place of sincere understanding and exposure to many cultures and experiences. My ability to face every encounter head on, with the goal of listening to a perspective that is unique to the person's place of origin, has increased my sales skills greatly.

"Across the spectrum, groups of people, with many different opinions and beliefs, call the United States their home. We also engage in conversations that can sometimes be extremely hurtful and hazardous to relationships, because we don't know how to communicate about tough subjects without getting defensive and ignoring the other person's background or relationships. These things are important to how a person interprets the world and its policies.

"Fortunately, my Black World Studies major has helped me to engage in topics personally and professionally, to be honest and empathetic, and to be a patient communicator who allows all people to be heard. This skill has enabled me to become a key communicator within my company and it has strengthened my relationships with friends and family.

"Finally, and most importantly, I found an extended family that mentored me while I was in the program and that continues to look out for me to this day. Miami's faculty uses every opportunity to make sure their students are learning. In addition to their normal course loads, my professors mentored me through several independent studies.

"They provided this flexible learning opportunity to help me grow as a student and as a person. I am honored to be a part of the network of people within the Black World Studies community who look at the world with an open and honest perspective. 99% of us who sat in those classes did so because of our thirst for knowledge and because our professors created a safe, trusting environment in which to learn. My professors delivered that on a daily basis and I am grateful to have been changed because of it."

[July 2011]


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