Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Nadia Elsayed

Nadia Elsayed lives at Renaissance House, Wheaton’s residence hall for women of color, where she has served as co-president. One of Wheaton’s theme houses, it’s a place where women of color build friendships, hone their leadership skills, and stretch each other intellectually.

Home away from home: Renaissance House is a place where women embrace their identity. The dynamic among women of color and their communities is not based on skin tone but rather on our individual experiences. The house works dualistically, cultivating leaders and scholars. Renaissance House has reached a milestone—its fifth year of existence. I only hope I can see my house flourish here on campus for a decade.

Bonds of sisterhood: Every single Renaissance House sister has influenced me along the way. I don’t think they’ll ever know how much I love them. Everyone needs a family to help nurture them, and they have been my family. I was a very different person four years ago. I’ve grown immensely since then, and I owe much of my success on campus to them.

Advocate for interculturalism: I became more socially aware of my surroundings when I noticed biased-related incidents occurring on campus. I had a loud voice and needed an outlet. Luckily, Victor Martinez ’09, who is now like a brother to me, was chair of the ICB (Intercultural Board) and made me a member-at-large. I learned a lot about politics, people and underrepresented people on campus through that experience. I was then elected ICB Senator and essentially became the voice that represented a whole community on campus. Inclusivity is one of Wheaton’s core values. During my time on ICB, the board strove toward inclusiveness within campus on issues regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, and so on.

Favorite aspect of Wheaton? Hands down, the people and the activities–the amazing friends I’ve made met and the opportunities I have had outside the classroom. The students are one of a kind. Wheaton’s size gives you a greater chance to have a bigger presence on campus through whatever activity you may do.

Favorite class: I really dug Marcus Allen’s “Black Political Thought” class. He allowed me the creative freedom I needed to grow as a student. We had controversial conversations many times, and it was one of those classes that made you think outside the box.

Some people don’t know that: I’m a really silly person. Tatisha McKay ’11 and I have a competition going on over who is sillier. She’s more “comedic” than I am. Being comedic has intention. However, being silly is unintentional. I don’t try to be silly, I just am. Guess that means I win!

–Amanda DeGroff ’12