By Tony Campbell
Jun 21, 2021
There may only be 24 hours in a day, but Eryn Jenkins (’21) manages to squeeze in as much as she possibly can.
During her time at Indiana State University, the 2021 graduate was rarely idle. In addition to her coursework and jobs as a freelance writer for the Indiana Statesman and Intramural Sports Referee for the Student Recreation Center, Jenkins held leadership roles in several campus organizations.
“The community of students makes Indiana State an easy place to get involved,” she said. “I also had a pretty great Orientation Leader. They inspired me to become one myself and work with students.”
Originally born in Tacoma, Washington, Jenkins moved to Indianapolis in 2016 to continue her junior year at Lawrence Central High School. She found her way to Indiana State after applying to more than 25 schools. Jenkins received the Sycamore Teacher Leader Scholarship, and after just one campus visit, she knew she’d found the right fit for her.
“The faculty and staff at Indiana State made me feel welcomed and truly listened to me,” she said.
Jenkins quickly made Indiana State her home, and set out to help others feel the same way. She joined the Residence Hall Association, an organization dedicated to serving residential students through programming and support.
Jenkins was one of the only freshmen on the organization’s executive board, serving as its Director of Public Relations. Her goal was to become president of the organization, a feat she finally accomplished as a senior.
“I have had the pleasure to watch this organization evolve and grow over the past three years,” Jenkins said. “It has truly been my favorite organization and has taught me so many leadership skills. The mentoring alone that takes place within the organization is beautiful.”
The English major and Honors College alumna also represented her Sycamore peers as the fundraising chair of Black Student Union.
“I loved what the organization stood for, and I loved the family inside it,” she said. “Black Student Union fights as the voice of an underrepresented people.”
“One of the things that I loved about being in BSU was that I was free to be me. It was a safe haven for students like me.”
In addition, Jenkins was selected as Indiana State University’s Miss Ebony, allowing her to mentor younger female students about the pageant and the history of the role.
“As Miss Ebony, I have gotten many opportunities to interact with students on campus,” she said. “I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to give away a scholarship to a student. This year being Miss Ebony has been amazing, and I cannot wait for next year and to pass the crown on to the next Miss Ebony.”
In her last year at Indiana State, Jenkins added yet another role to her resume: executive assistant for Student Government Association (SGA).
“Within SGA, I had to learn to work behind the scenes,” she said. “It was no longer the ‘Eryn Experience’. It became doing what I could to support [SGA president] Antonio Tamayo and [SGA vice-president] Jocelyn Fluker.”
Her experience in SGA, combined with knowledge gained from workshops hosted by the Honors College and by Honors Council, prepared Jenkins well for her career.
While studying abroad in England, Jenkins realized her passion lay not in the classroom, but in the courtroom.
“I learned a lot about myself and who I wanted to be,” she said. “All of society’s pressures were gone, and I was allowed to dive into my interests.”
After that realization, Jenkins pivoted her path to take on a new challenge. She’ll attend Atlanta John Marshall Law School in the fall, with hopes of pursuing criminal law or civil rights law.
“I believe one of my greatest and favorite skills is my ability to translate. Even for English speakers in America, there are barriers between people and their government,” she said. “My goal in life is to continue to translate for the underrepresented. It’s about making sure everyone’s voice is heard.”