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Out and Proud

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By Katie Rockett

Daskyra Hood started her journey at Oakland University in 2012, leaving Saginaw for good and finally living in a world where she could be herself.

Hood has earned two degrees at OU and she currently works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Over her nine years on campus, she has worked for the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, Orientation and New Student Programs, Housing, and the First Year Advising Center. She has also written for the Oakland Post and been a member of numerous clubs.

It is safe to say that Hood has been an active member of the OU community, and she has been determined to help others while making her mark. 

Hood reflected on her time working for CMI and detailed that while helping underprivileged students, she was able to learn a lot about other cultures and have immersive experiences that increased her understanding of the importance of diversity. 

“Diversity and inclusion should be about trying to make places inclusive for people in the room, but also for people who will be in the room.”

Daskyra Hood

Hood prioritizes this idea of people who “will be” in the room because she knows that “not everyone has an equal voice.” She makes it a point to use her voice for the people who do not feel comfortable or cannot use theirs, because of the people on campus who helped her use her own. 

One of Hood’s most influential experiences at OU was feeling comfortable enough to come out as a bisexual woman, aided by finally feeling a sense of comfort from meeting other members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Hood explained that because she grew up in an area where there were only two people in her entire high school who were out, she struggled with her own identity until she was at OU. 

“Coming to a place where people were proud of their queerness gave me the initial feeling that I am queer, so I should be out, so I can help other queer people who aren’t out,” she said. 

One of the ways that she dedicated herself to helping other members of the LGBTQ+ community was by participating in OU’s Out on Campus Initiative in 2016.

Daskyra Hood poses after her interview for the Out on Campus Initiative. She shared her coming out story to encourage others to come out when they felt ready. | Screen capture from OU’s Out on Campus Campaign video

The Gender and Sexuality Center shared the stories of students, faculty, and staff to establish OU as a safe place for everyone. Hood participated to show other people who had been in her situation that when they are ready to come out, there are many people on campus who want them to feel happy and comfortable. 

The project was a huge step for Hood in being proud of her identity. By sharing her story, she felt like she was sharing her authentic self with the campus community that had made her feel safe enough to do so in the first place. 

Hood described feeling most comfortable on campus when at an event for CMI or the GSC due to their commitment to increasing representation on campus. 

“Being around different diverse groups made me more comfortable with coming to terms with my own identity.”

Daskyra Hood

She defines diversity as “looking around the room and seeing people with different experiences and opinions,” and she considers it the most important step in ensuring people on campus are committed to fostering inclusion. 

“If you get a diverse group of people together and you figure out how to accommodate their needs, that is being inclusive. For people to feel safe, they need to be in an inclusive environment,” Hood explained. 

Now that she has obtained her Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership, Hood has started her career, where her goal is to effectively “better higher education.”

Hood went on to explain how college changed her life by opening up numerous opportunities, but she knows that there are so many barriers in accessing higher education and she wants to do everything she can to improve the system.

For now, Hood wants to stay at OU and do everything she can to help incoming students figure out their college plans from within Undergraduate Admissions. Her short term goal is to become an admissions adviser at a university, but she has bigger goals for changing the system itself.

“I don’t know what exactly I want to do, and I don’t know how to do it, but I know I can make it better – and I intend to.”

Daskyra Hood

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