Booker inspires SRU community

Published by Kayla Raynak, Date: February 21, 2024
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For Keshia Booker, students come first. In her role as assistant director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), she focuses on a variety of related efforts that involve large amounts of collaboration.

Booker has fulfilled multiple roles at the university while inspiring and encouraging students throughout her 11 years on SRU’s campus. 

“I’m a little bit of everywhere, trying to just create as inclusive of a community as I possibly can through collaborations and training and development,” Booker said.

In October 2022, she became the assistant director for DEIB, beginning her participation in many campus projects. The position did not exist until two years ago when Chief Diversity Officer Anthony Jones established his department, which is when Booker joined the process.

“Any time I get to work with students, I’m very excited. So helping students fully develop, develop their idea, or helping faculty and staff develop ideas and making sure that the students are a part of the process. I love that,” she said. 

Prior to working with DEIB, Booker worked in the Office for Inclusive Excellence (OIE) as the assistant director for multicultural development. She started Diversity Dialogues as a staff-led model which has since shifted to a peer led model.

Booker also used to be the advisor for Black Action Society (BAS), a student organization dedicated to issues surrounding the Black community at SRU. 

According to Booker, involvement with the students starts before they even arrive at the university. She has been writing letters to prospective students, gauging interest and offering to make the transition comfortable if they commit.

“All of that is really interesting to me because you can help see a student all the way through their college interest phase, all the way through to graduation,” she said. “I love that type of experience.”

Booker began her journey at SRU in 2013 when she was obtaining her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. During this time, she also worked closely with what was previously the Office of Multicultural Development.

“I got to travel a lot through my time here as a student. There are things I took advantage of and then some things that I wish I would have taken advantage of,” she said.

Booker expressed her appreciation for the opportunities she has had to travel both as a student and after.

“I went with international students to a trip to Niagara Falls. And that was really exciting because it was a bunch of students who had really never spent a lot of time in the United States and they’re seeing one of the seven wonders of the world. It was just really exciting,” she said.  

Booker’s students have nominated her for multiple awards through the university.

Her accolades include Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) DEI Summit Keeper of the Flame Award, Advisor of the Year for her work with BAS, Woman of Distinction and Fraternity and Sorority Life Advocate of the Year.

“As exciting as it is, it’s not what makes my time here. I’m super excited and very grateful anytime someone recognizes my work,” Booker said. “But I think I enjoy more the individual experiences and impacts, but this is wonderful and I love and appreciate that someone thought worthy to honor me.”

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