Eddie Bankston

Liberal Arts Honors Program/African & African Diaspora Studies/Philosophy/Humanities

It is difficult to recount all that has happened within these past twelve months. Everything moves so fast. A year ago, I was leaping anxiously into a sophomore year that would come with as many challenges as opportunities. And today, I am grateful that I found growth and community despite the chaos.


I began the fall semester of my sophomore year attending various events on campus with friends. Ready to move past pandemic, I enjoyed live music and poetry events that would take place around the city. The Dedman events we had allowed me to meet some of my closest friends. We shared stories of our summers and plans for the semester in fluorescent lounges, on brisk walks, or at busy street taco trucks. As the semester came to a close, it would be these friends that would encourage me to change my majors to what they are today: African and African Diaspora studies, philosophy, and humanities.

When spring came, I jumped into research that would enrich the lessons I had learned in class. I joined the founding planning committee for the Undergraduate Research Conference, hosted by Liberal Arts Career Services. Here, I met other students and faculty with varied research interests that would go on to expand my inquiry. I also had the privilege of interning with the re-entry organization A New Way of Life, founded and led by Ms. Susan Burton. With ANWOL, I did research to help establish a SAFE housing network in Detroit for formerly incarcerated women. I not only got to learn about the many challenges formerly incarcerated women face, but I contributed to a solution.


I was fortunate enough to travel to London to do research with my friends Joshua Russell and William C Hearne this past summer. Using funds from the President’s Award for Global Learning, as well as my academic enrichment fund, I studied the ways that global anti-black racism affects Black students’ experiences in university. I left London with new friends and questions that would expand my thinking, my living, and my learning. I have immense gratitude for the Dedman family and community for empowering me to grow through experience.