Jackson ’21 Investigates Black Experiences at Hamilton
Diamond Jackson ’21 is one of more than 100 Hamilton students conducting research with a faculty member this summer.
What is your research project?
The title of this is “A Fly in the Buttermilk: How the Mental Health of Black Students is Affected When Attending Predominantly White Institutions,” and so I’ll be interviewing black undergraduates about their experiences.
What are your responsibilities?
I came up with the interview script which I will use to interview 12 people. I have to gather a bunch of different articles that are relevant to the topics, transcribe interviews, and code. So (Visiting Professor of Education Studies Meredith) Madden’s going to be a big help with that.
What led you to create this project?
Last fall I took a class called “Issues in Education” with Professor Madden, and for our final, we got to choose our topic as long as it was related to education. It was supposed to be K-12, but I asked her if I could do this . . . She kind of helped me with the process, told me who to speak to, like other students who did it in the past with her so they could help me with my proposal.
Hometown: The Bronx, N.Y.
High School: Manhattan Hunter Science High School
What do you hope to accomplish through this project?
I want black students to feel like their voices matter like their opinions and experiences are important. Being able to share that with everyone else. The main goal is to make a big difference for Hamilton as an institution. Hopefully, the Hamilton community can learn something about the experiences of their black students and make it better for their four years here.
Does this project relate to your major?
Actually, I think it’s more of a separate thing. I think it comes out of my own experience of being at Hamilton and from conversations with friends. It’s something that we talk about —being at Hamilton and being black. I’ve never tried to attach it to a different subject. It’s always just felt like a part of my experience.
In your reading, has there been anything interesting that you’ve encountered so far?
There are a lot of different phrases for experiences. Like, I’ve run into “minority status stress,” “racial battle fatigue,” “imposter phenomenon.” All these things that when I read about them, I find them relatable, but I had never thought to put a word to them before. So, I think that’s been the most interesting part so far.
Is there anything else you want readers to know?
Just to reiterate that it’s not so much about a class or a subject, but just the experience of black students here, and although I’ll only be interviewing 12 people, I think the experiences will be more common than we think. More than those 12 people are going through what these (interviewees) are sharing. I think that’s really important to take away from it.
What extracurriculars are you involved with during the school year?
I’m on the track team, and this past semester I was one of the co-presidents of BLSU. I’m the secretary for the Voices of Color Lecture Series; I was the receptionist at the Opportunity Programs desk. I’m a lab inspector.