By Kasy Long
Feb 15, 2023
When college students first arrive on campus, they are advised to join clubs, meet friends, and make the most of their college experience through campus involvement. Community engagement helps students discover their place of belonging while also preparing them for their careers.
Luckily, at Indiana State University there are more than 200 available student organizations that help Sycamores participate in activities and community engagement with fellow students. This includes organizations within the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center [AACC], where Indiana State’s African American students can become involved in creating and innovating cultural programs on campus. The center provides programs and academic support, community involvement, professional development, and cultural immersion for students.
Learn more about Indiana State’s African American Cultural Center.
Isaac Young found his home away from home on campus at the AACC. A current communication graduate student, Young earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana State in 2022. The Sycamore said he was drawn to Indiana State’s smaller class sizes and one-on-one connections with professors.
In his undergraduate studies, Young learned marketing strategies and theories, as well as the principles of managing businesses. His education emphasized critical thinking, leadership, and interpersonal and communication skills, complete with internships, research, and independent studies.
Now, as a graduate student, Young enhances his communication skills through a theoretical perspective. Graduate students in the Department of Communication are prepared for leadership roles in media and public affairs, business, education, government, and non-profit work.
“I have been able to grow in my field [at Indiana State] and learn more about marketing. The academic programs, particularly the Mentoring Assistance for Prospective Scholars [MAPS], encourage me to shadow marketing professionals to have a firsthand look at what I’ll be doing in my future career,” says Young, who also works as a digital marketing specialist at Endeavor Communications, a telecommunications company based in Cloverdale, Indiana.
Young’s interest in marketing was initially sparked during his undergraduate studies. He helped create marketing material and public relations content for various student organizations and programs, including those within the AACC, particularly MAPS and the Brotherhood of Successful Scholars [BOSS]. The programs address key issues affecting the student retention rate for Indiana State’s minority students.
During his undergraduate years at Indiana State, Young mentored students as the academic retention coordinator for the AACC. Today, he continues to advise students as a graduate assistant for outreach and engagement in the mentoring center. He has guided students on academic success and how to balance their personal lives with their studies.
“The AACC provides a sense of belonging and mentorship for students,” he explains. The Sycamore also helps create and distribute flyers for Black History Month events, workshops, and other campus events. “The African American population [at Indiana State] is a family-oriented environment. There are plenty of resources and opportunities on campus for students to network and socialize together.”
Young is passionate about supporting other people and entire communities. He is currently completing an Ethnographic creative graduate study capstone project – a qualitative method of collecting data often used in social and behavioral sciences. The study reviews descriptions of people and cultures, along with their customs and habits. Young’s study observes the opportunity gap in communities and how factors – including race, language, economic status, and family situations – affect educational achievements and careers.
The Sycamore says he is fascinated with identifying these factors. His graduate study includes writing proposals on how actions could help eliminate these opportunity gaps, particularly in his hometown – Cahokia, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.
“I want to give back to my community as much as I can. People don’t give back to their communities anymore. They graduate and leave their homes. I want to do something different,” explains Young, who plans to return to his hometown following graduation. “It’s important for me to invest in my community in Cahokia.”
Young has found where he belongs and discovered his passion – and through networking, marketing, and community bonding, he mentors groups of individuals toward a successful future. Because real communicators wear BLUE!