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Three students in first cohort of DEI interns

The Jane Jorgensen Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Internship, created in May 2021 thanks to a gift from Jane and Jay Jorgensen, is intended to enhance students’ skills in understanding antiracist principles, diversity, equity, inclusion and leadership.

IU Bloomington students Bukola Fasipe, Bhavika Khamesra and Stephanie Mokube are the first students selected for the new internship program.

Bukola Fasipe. Photo by Ethan Gill, Office of the Provost.  Bukola Fasipe. Photo by Ethan Gill, Office of the Provost.
Fasipe is a junior majoring in sociology. She has worked in the Open Air Venues in spring 2021 and previously did food delivery in summer 2020. She also volunteered at her hometown church in the children’s department.

Khamesra is a senior at the Kelley School of Business majoring in finance and digital technology management. She has volunteered to consult for nonprofits and underrepresented businesses globally, namely in the U.S., Costa Rica and Nigeria.

Mokube is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in business and psychology. She has worked at Lewis Wagner Law Firm in Indianapolis doing filing and case preparation.

All three recently talked with IU Bloomington Today.

Question: What about the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion internship interested you?

Mokube: Hearing about this internship and IU’s push to increase diversity among its staff by giving students the opportunity to work with leadership teams and departments around this campus interested me, because I would be able to use my perspective as a student to work with faculty across campus and open their eyes to what minorities face on this campus and initiate change in their leadership roles.

Khamesra: Growing up, I was told to stay clear of vexed affairs, keep my head down and do what I was told. But I dared to look up, and once I saw what was happening, I had to do something about it. I grew up in a small town in India and, from a very young age, I understood stereotypes and the role they play in my culture. With this unique exposure, I believe that I can add value to the conversation addressing allyship. Moreover, I strive to be the student voice on IU initiatives and projects that focus on empowering diverse communities.

Bhavika Khamesra. Photo by Ethan Gill, Office of the Provost.  Bhavika Khamesra. Photo by Ethan Gill, Office of the Provost.

Q: How do you believe the internship will shape your experience at IU?

Mokube: With a campus of over 40,000 undergrads, it can be hard to feel like one can impact anything within four short years. This internship will shape my experience at IU because I know I will leave a positive impact on this campus. Once I leave this campus, I will be able to reflect on all the changes I helped foster.

Fasipe: I believe the internship will shape my experience at IU because it will make me more aware of the work that goes on behind the scenes to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. This internship will help me learn more about other marginalized groups and allow me to look at things from various perspectives—both in and outside of the classroom.”

Q: What do you hope to get out of the experience?

Fasipe: I hope to gain more knowledge about the world and people around me. I hope to better understand the way society and institutions function. I hope to create spaces and amplify the voices of underrepresented groups on campus. Overall, I hope to better myself and grow into a person who positively impacts those around me and a person I can be proud of.

Khamesra: It’s my senior year, so I am hoping to make the most out of this opportunity. In the past few days, I got incredible opportunities to share ideas and learn from IU leaders. I aspire to use the internship exposure to build on the current DEI initiatives on campus.

Q: How does it feel to be chosen for the inaugural cohort?

Mokube: It feels great! The other interns and I are setting the foundation for future interns in this program to be able to continue the work we have begun to help IU stick to its commitment to increase diversity among its staff and faculty members.

Khamesra: Overwhelmed, but in a good, galvanizing way. I feel honored to be chosen for such a prestigious and impactful role.

Fasipe: It is a great honor, and I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of such an influential group of people. I will work my hardest to use my role to better IU and advocate for my fellow students.

Stephanie Mokube. Photo courtesy Stephanie Mokube.  Stephanie Mokube. Photo courtesy Stephanie Mokube. Q: What will your role be through your internship?

Khamesra: As I am interning with the Office of Provost, the scope of my internship responsibilities is very unique. I am working with several vice provost offices and IU centers to learn about their monumental initiatives and sharing ideas on different ventures.

Mokube: I will be working with the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life as a diversity, equity and inclusion intern. Greek Life is a very big part of IU’s campus, and it is tough for people of color and minorities to feel comfortable within the Greek community. I hope to plan and begin sensitivity training for staff members and potentially even students to ensure that the Greek community is a place where anyone and everyone can feel comfortable expressing themselves, as well as speak up for themselves without fear of being ignored or overlooked.

Fasipe: Through my internship, I will be working closely with Nikeetha D’Souza in order to connect with student leaders on campus. We will connect with them to discuss diversity and inclusion on campus, and to create a space for their voices to be heard. We will work on creating and inviting student leaders to various dialogues. This is my current work, but I’m always discussing new ideas with Nikeetha.

Samantha Hyde is an intern with IU Studios.