Eileen Exama '22

“All of my clubs and teams at Iona have served as tools in discovering what I want from myself in the future. They have also allowed me to connect with many other students of color. Through these relationships, I have gained a deeper understanding of the ways I would like to grow as a person and delved into exploring my identity as a Black woman.”

Major: English
Minor: Pre-Law and Music
Hometown: Freeport, N.Y.
High School: Our Lady of Mercy Academy 

1. What have you accomplished so far that you are most proud of?

My greatest accomplishment was creating and performing a piece during the inauguration of New York City Councilmember Althea Stevens along with my friends and members of the Black Student Union Dance Experience. I’m proud to create impactful pieces that show off their massive amount of talent. Sometimes, teams face difficulties and submerge under the pressure, but my girls have proven that they are up for the challenge. We performed beautifully in front of various notables including Chuck Schumer, Letitia James, and many more. Did I mention how supportive they were? Just simply a display of what Black girl magic is all about!

2. What have you learned about yourself since coming to Iona?

Since coming to Iona, I’ve found myself making many important decisions as a student leader – decisions that I didn't see myself being able to make in my wildest dreams. Prior to coming to Iona, I struggled with my self-esteem and it affected me until I decided to take a stand against it and challenge myself into becoming a resident assistant and participate in Black Student Union. Soon, I learned that there was much more that I had to offer Iona.

3. Do you belong to clubs/teams or participate in other activities?

I am a part of many clubs and organizations on campus including: secretary for Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.; residential assistant in Loftus Hall; vice president for Black Student Union; co-captain for the Black Student Union Dance Experience; and member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.

All of these organizations have served as tools in discovering what I want from myself in the future. They have also allowed me to connect with many other students of color. Through these relationships, I have gained a deeper understanding of the ways I would like to grow as a person and delved into exploring my identity as a Black woman. I thank many of my peers for challenging me such as Elizabeth Rodriguez, Christele Romulus, Nya Figueroa, Ariana Simpson, Julissa Morillo, Claudia Marcelin, and many more!

4. Has any class, professor, mentor or friend made an important impact on you since coming to Iona? How?

Collectively each professor from each year that I have been at Iona has pushed the intellectual growth I have been wanting for years now. They have been able to see exactly what I would like to accomplish during my years here and beyond.

I would like to thank (in no particular order) Dr. Adam Rosado, Dr. Aaron Rosenfeld, Dr. Paul O'Connell, Dr. Timothy Lyle, Dr. Jeanne Zaino, Dr. Christina Carlson, Dr. Thomas Moretti, and Jeanne Claire Cotnoir. They are among the many educators and scholars I have met while here these last four years who have taught me the extensive knowledge I hope to build upon when I graduate. They each have challenged and supported me as individual mentors.

5. What are you looking forward to in the future?

I look forward to becoming a Black woman in law. The demographic is changing when it comes to representation and I want to be a part of that. I think God blessed me with my voice and I intend to use that to serve and protect others – whether I become a judge or lawyer. I hope to attend Columbia Law and excel in the community engagement that Iona has shown me.