For the 2016-17 academic year, the Office of Multicultural Affairs named Nytesia Ross as the program’s student supervisor.
Ross is a mass communication major from Tyler, Texas. Her responsibilities include overseeing the student ambassadors, managing the OMA website and being in charge of various events.
There are six different organizations within OMA. Ross is a four-year member of the OMA and is in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Asian Culture Club.
“Just by being in the office I realized I had the opportunity to dive into different cultures,” Ross said. “I just stayed within this office to get the necessary skills to communicate effectively with all different types of people.”
OMA’s other organizations include the African Student Organization, Organizations of Latin Americans and Fashion n’ Motion.
According to OMA’s website, its mission is “to create a campus environment where all students, staff and faculty feel welcome and included.”
“Our office is about promoting diversity and promoting a platform in which people have conversations that may be difficult,” Ross said.
Ross said she is able to have conversations in the OMA that she can’t have anywhere else.
“I want to give people an opportunity to learn more about themselves, find a sense of their own identity, and by doing that, you ultimately are more understanding and empathetic of other people and their journey to discovering who they are,” Ross said.
Ross said OMA gives her a place where she can be herself.
“A lot of people have entered into my life that I know will be there,” Ross said. “On numerous occasions, I know that I can count on them, so that’s the reason why I love OMA. The family atmosphere that we have here, it’s like a safe haven. No, it is a safe haven.”
Ross is also involved with an organization called Kids Aspiring to Dream and has an internship with ESPN on campus.
In 2014, Ross participated in the Raise Up Project, a nation-wide competition designed for students to share their thoughts and experiences dealing with the education system through the art of spoken word.
Ross, along with four other participants, earned a $5,000 scholarship from the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation and had the opportunity to recite her poem “Teach Me” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Being a part of OMA has helped Ross overcome various obstacles.
“[I started] realizing that I had a voice, realizing that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my past and things that occurred in my past,” Ross said. “They made me who I am, and so my obstacle was overcoming that by asserting myself and being willing to do different things.”
Ross said her grandmother and mother inspire her to be great in everything she does. They taught her that “hard work is the only way in which you will ever succeed.” “My entire life, it’s just been my granny, my mother and I,” Ross said. “They’re the epitome of confidence and being strong and being resilient. They’re everything that
encompasses being a real woman.”
Ross loves writing and reciting poetry and recently had one of her poems, “Baby, This World is Cruel,” published in SFA’s multicultural center.
Ross said she has noticed some people on campus who want to get involved but are not sure how to do so.
For more information on how to get involved with the OMA, visit the Baker Pattillo Student Center, Room 3.101 or call the office at (936) 468-1073.