Jaylon Thomas

University of Central Oklahoma

Jaylon Thomas, a junior at the University of Central Oklahoma is an active leader in addressing issues of increasing the retention of black males on campus. For the last two years he has worked closely with grassroot efforts to advocate for the success of black males in higher education, including efforts to rally faculty and staff to support programs that would provide a platform for those students to persist at the university. He currently serves as the Black Male Initiative Intern where he and his fellow counterparts in the program are exploring the possibility of creating a living learning community that would give black males both a safe space and support system that they can use to navigate their undergraduate experience.

Don Betz
University of Central Oklahoma

Personal Statement

I first became involved in addressing issues that plague black males when I joined the Black Male Initiative. As I got more involved, I began to find my niche in the program by serving as a tutor to the black men in the program. Through doing this tutoring, I became more conscious about the psychological issues that black men deal with in a higher education setting. As a result, I lead the Black Male Initiative in an effort to teach black males about their identity in society, as well as advocating for black male success in higher education. I am also involved in community efforts to resist the unjust police brutality by formulating research questions that will help relieve the hostility between law enforcement and the black community abroad.

Jaylon Thomas
Forensic Science and Criminal Justice: Class of May 2018
written 2017

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Erica Cherian, UNC Charlotte Morgan Sweere, University of Central Arkansas Andrew Aboujaoude, University of Central Florida Jaylon Thomas, University of Central Oklahoma Akshayaa Chittibabu, University of Connecticut Marie Spence, University of Denver Nicolette Duong, University of Florida Bobbie Alcanzo, University of Great Falls Eisha Khan, University of Houston-Downtown Alexis Smyser, University of Illinois at Chicago Rudy Amaya, University of La Verne Duane Belanger, University of Maine at Fort Kent Karla Casique, University of Maryland Axel Bayingana, University of Maryland Eastern Shore Sophia Lopresti, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Andrew King, University of Massachusetts Boston Callie Nunez, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Luiza Kinzerska-Martinez, University of Miami Nadine Jawad, University of Michigan Zachary Hayes, University of Michigan - Flint Gemechu Mekonnen, University of Minnesota Madison Bick, University of Missouri - St. Louis Isabel Langlois, University of Montana Shayla McGregor, University of Montana Western Sophie Ramsey, University of Mount Union Jimmy Nguyen, University of Nebraska at Omaha Shannon Bodeau, University of North Carolina Asheville Cristian Ramos, University of North Georgia Karina Judith Ortega, University of North Texas at Dallas Melanie Majeed, University of Northern Iowa Sarah Tomas Morgan, University of Notre Dame Anea Moore, University of Pennsylvania Hashaam Jamil, University of Pittsburgh Wila Matos, University of Rhode Island Edgar Chavarria, University of San Diego Emery Smith, University of South Carolina Isaac Miles, University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) Corinne Tucker, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Richard Lee, University of Utah Rena Newman, University of Wisconsin - Madison Bianca Ruffolo, University of Wisconsin - Parkside Joanna (Jo) Niswonger, University of Wisconsin Colleges Yessenia Santamaria, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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