Jolisse Gray, a first year student at Notre Dame of Maryland University, is a passionate student leader invested in advancing the voices and stories of those of Latin American descent. As an International Studies and Political Science double major, her intellectual curiosity pushes her to participate on our United Nations Club Executive Board (NDMU has NGO status at the UN). Her dedication to global citizenship has earned her a place as the Alternate Head Delegate for NDMU’s Model Organization of American States (OAS).
Ms. Gray approaches social issues through community-based and community-centered platforms as evidenced through her documentary work highlighting those of Latin American descent and issues directly affecting their communities. She took events that may have been difficult to understand or process, and honored the complexities of a marginalized group of people through the storytelling of friendship, culture, and community. In her civic engagement work, Ms. Gray seeks to address root causes of social issues through elevating the stories of others.
Ever since Hurricane Maria resulted in destruction across Puerto Rico and left my family without power for eight months, I have dedicated myself to raising social awareness about the problems many Latin Americans experience. This disastrous event led me to create a documentary, Our Voice, which called upon many Latin descendant nationalities to speak about issues directly affecting their communities. Their voices ignited a passion inside of me and I am devoted to making an impact within my community by using the resources around me. As the Alternate Head Delegate of the Women’s Model Organization of American States, I represent Notre Dame of Maryland University and have used that platform to create a resolution benefitting the Western Hemisphere. Not only am I passionate about issues facing the Americas, I am actively involved with international affairs through the United Nations Club as the Secretary. My on-campus participation has led to opportunities to speak about issues and policies around the world with official ambassadors and consulates. Through the Newman Civic Fellowship, I seek the tools to further develop my global advocacy work for Latin America and continue my service to this community whom I call family.