By Lindzie White

For many of us, it is hard to feel connected with our campus in these virtual times. There have been some changes at Cape Cod Community College since the pandemic started in late December 2019. In particular, the new Student Engagement Coordinator, Asher Hamilton, is a new addition to 4C’s and she couldn’t have arrived at a more needed time. The struggles our students are facing with the virtual world are being combated by faculty like Mrs. Hamilton at 4C’s. The issues that are predominantly affecting the majority of the student body at 4C’s are not unique to Mrs. Hamilton. She has been facing off with these issues for quite some time in her career. Student services allow her to look at methods and theories which create a proactive response to student attrition, student inequity, and student development.

 Hamilton shares some of her past experience when she was a community outreach professional with American River Community College in Sacramento, CA. Hamilton has had a long-celebrated career as a community college student support specialist. She does not shy away from issues like race, equity, justice, and inclusive pedagogies. “I received my MA in Intercultural Communications with an emphasis on Women’s’ Health, Feminist Pedagogue and Theory/Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth Identity and Black Feminist Thought,” Hamilton proudly says. As she continues her work, she is carrying out extensive research on microaggressions in academic settings and their impact on student performance. What Hamilton’s work is doing will benefit 4C’s for a long time. Maura Weir the Senior Academic Counselor, supports Mrs. Hamilton by saying, “each and every student needs something unique and the great work coming out of the student engagement office is helping students who have a diverse background.”

Mrs. Hamilton’s journey did not stop in California. She pivoted and relocated to John F. Kennedy Middle School Council working on programs and activities to create a more inclusive and welcoming climate for students of color. “My ambitious task is we’re working on creating a ‘diversity week extravaganza’,” celebrating the beauty of difference whereby students will be invited to have fiercely intense conversations on #BlackLivesMatter, microaggressions, racism, guess who is gay, Latino(a) vs. Hispanic, how do we teach white people about differences, kneeling over the United States National Anthem, and the realities and dangers of biases,” Mrs. Hamilton says devotedly. The wellness office will be collaborating with the student engagement office on the multicultural event happening at 4C’s. “The event will take place in November and we want each student from those diverse backgrounds to feel a sense of belonging and recognition,” Mrs. Weir adds.

Currently with the present position Asher holds at 4C’s, she is still working on many of these diversity issues facing our student body. Hamilton’s goals are to tackle the broad issues facing our student body and embracing the virtual world we are entering amidst COVID-19. What are a few of Mrs. Hamilton’s biggest successes, she commented that, “she is extremely proficient with building and bridging alliances with relevant interdisciplinary teams, committees, communities, and programs while utilizing campus resources that make an impact in the lives of students.” Look forward to the many events coming out of the student engagement office to exhibit the many cultures at 4C’s, and if you’d like to participate let us know! If any student wants to reach out to Asher Hamilton or Maura Weir and discuss further the issues facing you as a student in regard to race, equity, and any other concerns she would gladly chat with you. Hamilton’s contact information is ahamilton@capecod.edu and Maura Weir’s contact information mweir@capecod.edu.