Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.

Jordan Chapman | Grad Student and Geoarchaeologist

I’m originally from South Philadelphia and I came to Georgia to get a PhD in Anthropology with focus in geoscience at UGA. Growing up, there weren’t a lot of scientists who looked like me and even less that did archaeology or geology. Honestly, I was afraid of science and math until I got to Penn State University and decided that I would try to become a scientist anyway. Since then, my goal has been to encourage as many people as possible to use the scientific method and pursue their dreams no matter what. Read more>>

Jens Ibsen | Opera Singer and Composer

I was born in Accra, Ghana to a Ghanaian mother and an American father, and moved to the Bay Area when I was not quite a year old. I grew up in a musically diverse household, with my mother playing everything from Earth, Wind and Fire, to Angelique Kidjo, while my father, an amateur at West African drumming, exposed us to Samba, Candomble, Western classical music, and everything in between. My earliest exposure to music was as diverse as it gets, and this has always impacted my approach to composing. Read more>>

AmyLea Hodges | Yoga Instructor RYT and Psychotherapist

I am originally from East Tennessee, but spent much of my early years growing up in Florida, Hawaii, and northern Virginia. I am sure living with people from other cultures, especially in Hawaii influenced me greatly when I became exposed to yoga. I have always studied dance and gymnastics, and already understood the discipline and training it takes to excel in any endeavor. I also experienced the strength and peace that comes from such devotion to any discipline. Read more>>

Jana Carpenter | Bio-Analytical Chemistry PhD student, BSCI Research and Development Officer, and Networking Chair for CGSO

I have to say that both my mother and just existing in the South my whole life make a huge impact on how I carry myself today. There’s this expectation of charm and character and resilience that comes with growing up in the South that I always found fascinating. However, what growing up in the South really teaches you, is some of the rich and violent history of what it means to be Black in America. My mom, a single parent, working three or more jobs, always emphasized that I had to face the world head on and with my head held high in the many faces of adversity, which is an especially crucial lesson for black children. It was through my mom that I saw what it meant to believe in myself and to be proud of where I come from. Read more>>

Whitley Grant | Mental Health Therapist & Black Feminist Researcher

I am from a small rural town called Ahoskie, NC located in the northeastern part of North Carolina. I grew up in a household where my mom had her own business. So whether it was intentional or not it did give me some insight into what it means to be your own boss and to make decisions that align best with the people you choose to serve. In addition my parents instilled in me very early on the importance of a good education and using the skills you learn to pour back into your community. I would say that my upbringing and background have both heavily influenced my decision to start my own private practice. In addition, I have seen the need for therapists of color to be able to study and learn how to effectively provide treatment for people of color. I take a for us by us approach to my business practices and business philosophies. Read more>>