Elizabeth Reeves ‘13
By Aris Moore
Elizabeth Reeves’ (‘13) fondest memories of the Diversity Center are how it felt like a community. They remember the friends they made and the time they all spent together, bonding.
“If you had the right combination, you would get zero homework done but it would be so funny. And so entertaining. It was just great.” The chance to meet and get to know a lot of people from different backgrounds was a formative experience.
This community-centric experience has shaped Elizabeth’s understanding of diversity, which they say is “having a multitude of different backgrounds and opinions and conversations.” The Diversity Center helped focus Elizabeth’s mindset on diversity by having conversations with fellow students about things that happened in the classroom or the world on a weekly basis. Elizabeth says “it was really cool, at least being able to have these harder conversations.”
What brought Elizabeth into the Diversity Center in the first place was Tacoma MESA, a program that helps prepare underrepresented students for STEM-related higher education. Elizabeth worked with MESA as a tutor for elementary students. MESA introduced them to the Rieke Scholar program, and Elizabeth stuck around in the Diversity Center for the rest of their time at PLU.
Now, Elizabeth carries over what they learned in the Diversity Center into their life as a grad student at Iowa State University. This includes the way they carry themselves and how they interact with their friends and fellow students. Elizabeth uses the leadership and conflict resolution skills they gained from the Diversity Center to bridge the gaps formed by cultural and language differences between American and International students in their grad program. These gaps are perfectly natural but most students just aren’t prepared for them. Because of the Diversity Center, Elizabeth developed the necessary skills and experience to help others navigate such conflicts.
What Elizabeth hopes for the future of the Diversity Center is simple. All they want is that the Diversity Center can continue to be a place that feels like a reminder of home for current and future Lutes. That it can be somewhere safe for all students who need it. Having needed something like that themself, Elizabeth is glad that they found that refuge. “I hope it continues to be like this, that semblance of comfort for them.”
Elizabeth graduated from PLU in 2013 with a major in Fine Arts-Drawing & Painting and a minor in Religion. They are currently a grad student at Iowa State University getting their Masters in Fine Arts. Elizabeth hopes to one day be a college or high school teacher. Outside of being a student, Elizabeth is also a professional artist and substitute teacher.