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Student Spotlights

‘IU welcomed me with open arms’

Aug. 25, 2015

IU senior Quanisha Morrow has spent her whole life helping the less fortunate.

From a young age, her grandparents, who raised her, encouraged her to assist people and families in need. As a family, they would cook upwards of 10 turkeys to give to deserving families in their neighborhood on Thanksgiving, and her grandfather always had an open pantry for anyone who did not have the means for food.

“My upbringing shows me that I don’t need to have it all to help someone through service,” said Morrow.

Coming to Indiana University three years ago, Morrow was determined to continue with that same mentality.  

Through her involvement in clubs at IU, Morrow, a 21st Century Scholar and GROUPS Scholar, has traveled all over the United States. Along with a group from the Atkins Living Learning Center at her residence hall in Forest Residence Center, she traveled to a school in New York to perform a skit called, “The Life of a College Student,” that taught kids what to expect from college. Morrow also traveled to New Orleans with IU Residential Programs and Services for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, which sparked a new passion in her. 

“This experience helped initiate my interest in diversity and cultural competency,” Morrow said.

With a newfound interest in different cultures, Morrow joined the IU Global Village Books and Beyond Program, and took her desire to learn about cultures to a whole new level last summer when she traveled to Rwanda.

“Prior to coming to IU, I didn’t have a passport,” Morrow said. “Getting this first stamp on my passport and riding an airplane for the first time was something big and special to me.”

In Rwanda, she taught a readers’ theater class where she showed students ages 9 to 13 how to express themselves through acting.

“Sometimes it was difficult, because the kids spoke little to no English,” said Morrow, who had never taught that age group before. “The kids very much enjoyed readers’ theater, but I can honestly say that I took more out of it than they did.”

This past January, Morrow put her newfound teaching skills to use when she traveled to Newark, New Jersey, and mentored a 14-year-old named Asha through the Books and Beyond program. Together, the two co-authored a short story that was published in volume seven of “The World is Our Own Anthology."

Morrow will also focus on her role as a member of the Scholarship Advisory Committee this year, through which she will help prospective students with the college application process.

“Indiana University has opened up so many avenues for me and has forced me to step out of my box,” Morrow said. “Being a first-generation college student, I didn’t know anything about the college process. IU welcomed me with open arms and has allowed me to be comfortable in a home away from home.”

She is also a member of the executive board for Minority Students in Public Health, which complements her community health major. Her role as public relations chair and event planner gives her the opportunity to develop health programs and interventions on IU’s campus that are targeted at marginalized populations in Bloomington. She hopes to find a career doing something similar, where she can help minority and underrepresented populations become healthier.

“I believe that the health of everyone is important and that no one should suffer as a result of his or her culture,” Morrow said. “I just want to help those who can’t help themselves.”

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