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GPI - Jerome Burke Director, Center for Inclusive Excellence


Courtesy of Jerome Burke

By Sophia Harris

Associate Editor

What is your educational and professional background?


My first degree is a bachelor of law, which I did at the University of Technology. I have a master's in integrated marketing and communication from the University of the West Indies.


What are your hobbies?


I love writing and directing. Currently, I write for a YouTube series called Balla. Also, another one is called True Colors. I enjoy creating stories that put young people at the forefront, allowing them to tell their own stories, but also dealing with issues that young people often go through - all while creating practical solutions.


What are some goals that you would like to accomplish in your career here at Framingham State?


The key word for me is impact. So as I think about goals, I am really hoping to make an impact. I'm really hoping to be able to identify the issues that our students are going through. When you think about our LGBTQ+ students on campus, when you think about our BIPOC students, and when you think about our first-gen students, I'm really hoping that we are able to highlight what those issues are and take practical steps toward a solution. Not just thinking about it in a theoretical manner, not just thinking about it in the sense of some studies that were done, but really creating spaces where students themselves are able to see a difference. “This is what I'm going through and what does the solution look like, for me.” My goal is to really create spaces where we are able to identify those issues. Allow students to articulate what their solutions look like for them. Also, I'm very big on culture, so I'm really hoping to make some noise on campus. I'm really hoping to make Framingham State a fun and vibrant space - a very vibrant university that celebrates every culture. There should be something that every student is able to say, “That resonated with me. That's something that I really liked.” Hispanic Heritage Month is coming up. I didn't know a lot about the culture and just through this job, I'm already been able to do a lot of research. I'm realizing that 22% of our student population identifies as being Hispanic. That's massive. So I'm hoping that through my work, I'm able to make sure that we walk away knowing a lot more about that community and doing a better job of serving that community.


What is something students wouldn't expect about you?


As a Jamaican, I can't cook. I'm also from the islands and I can't swim. I think if I told students that I'm from Jamaica, and they heard those two things, that's going to be something that they didn't expect. I don't think that students would expect that I'm someone who loves movies and shows that have no real substance. Sometimes, I watch really trashy T.V.


Do you have any advice for students?


University is an experience. I think that a lot of what will make an impact on your life, when you think about university, is not going to be what you learn in the classroom. I think it's the friendships that you're going to be able to form on campus. Those are some friendships that are going to be for a lifetime. Those are going to be people who are able to get you an interview. They're going to be the ones who when you're really going through stressful times in life, when your back is really up against the wall, these are going to be the people who are going to be showing up for you - not just on the phone or just virtual but in physical spaces. Pulling up at your door and really giving you support. So, really immerse yourself and allow yourself to really form friendships, while you're on campus. Think about those relationships outside of the classroom as much as you can. …The last thing I will say is that find something that you are passionate about. You will never really feel like anything in life is working for you until you find something that you're passionate about. If it’s sports, get involved. If it is a particular club or affinity group, get involved. I can tell you when … everything else in life is going wrong - once you are involved in something that you're passionate about - for whatever reason, it seems like you're able to just turn off all that noise and really zone in. I think everyone knows that thing they're passionate about. And once they're able to find that meaning, there is no apology about it. Just enjoy doing it.


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