What Great Minds Can Do: Akaysha Palmer
Bronx, New York
Junior Akaysha Palmer is not waiting until she graduates to address the challenges she sees in the world around her, she has been changing her community and the University since the day she arrived on campus. At Seton Hall, we celebrate the servant leadership of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who saw a need, and broke the barriers faced by women and Catholics in the U.S. to fulfill that need. Akaysha Palmer is the embodiment of the spirit of Elizabeth Ann Seton that we strive to instill in our students.
A Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar, member of the Black Student Union, and student member of the Diversity and Inclusion Alliance on campus, Akaysha Palmer has been leading efforts to make Seton Hall an equitable and welcoming environment for all students. Akaysha founded two organizations on campus, H.A.I.R. or Having Appreciation in Realness, and the Black Diplomacy Student Organization, to support her fellow Black students. Akaysha saw a need and she filled it. After the death of George Floyd, Akaysha approached the School of Diplomacy to guide and encourage the School to act in support of its Black community. Because of her encouragement and that of her classmates, the School has a 45-member Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Coalition that works assiduously to improve the School and the community. She has become known on campus for this work and is currently advising the director of the CORE curriculum to suggest and implement increased diversity and inclusion content. In addition, she is working on a book chapter with the University Library on diversity efforts on campus. In each of these cases, Akaysha saw a need and she filled it.
In addition to her involvement on campus, Akaysha has been working to improve her community in New York. She interned with the New York City Mayor's office, New York Common Pantry, Housing Plus and is volunteering her time with senior citizens.
Changing the world is her superpower, but she maintains her civilian alter ego. Akaysha has had two campus jobs in the service of her fellow students, as an R.A. in the dormitories, and on Blue Crew, as a campus tour guide. She has also managed to achieve the dean’s list every semester. This young woman can do it all, and she won't stop there.
Update: As a senior, Akaysha has been awarded a prestigious Charles Rangel Fellowship. The Rangel Program is a U.S. State Department program administered by Howard University that seeks to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The Program seeks individuals interested in helping to shape a freer, more secure and prosperous world through formulating, representing, and implementing U.S. foreign policy. The Program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women, and those with financial need.
Seton Hall Career Highlights
- Internship at the U.S. Department of State in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations
- Recipient of the Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship, Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship at Princeton University, and Teach for America Ignite Fellowship
- Published Writer, Ethnic Studies in Academic and Research Libraries
- Recipient of the Servant Leadership Award at Seton Hall
- Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar
- Founder of the Black Diplomacy Student Organization
- Founding President of H.A.I.R. (A natural hair community)
- Student representative on the School of Diplomacy Board of Advisors