MIT’s first Black Female student body president in 159 years shares her thoughts in this spotlight on Daniella Alexa Geathers, a woman of phenomenal accomplishments. The best part is that she is just getting started!
Danielle Alexa Geathers, a rising junior mechanical engineering major at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been elected the 2020-2021 Undergraduate Association (UA) President. She is the first black woman to serve in the MIT’s 159-year history.
“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.Maya Angelou
LASM: How does it feel to have earned a seat where so few women and Black people have been? What has the experience been like?
I am excited and humbled to have the opportunity to serve my community in this position. Because of COVID-19, our student government was a couple of weeks behind so immediately after the win, we began working to try to play catch up. Currently, we are fully engaged, around the clock to ensure that we deliver our political mandate.
LASM: What do you want people to know about you and what are your hopes for your future?
Change is happening so rapidly in this COVID-19 era that it is hard to focus and consider the long-term future. With the decisions that have been made to dramatically limit the repopulation of undergraduate students in the Fall, our goal will be to ensure that we create the best mechanism for remotely channeling undergraduate students’ concerns to the Institute decision-makers. Additionally, we are confronting the systemic racism on our campus and we look forward to pushing MIT to be more anti-racist by instituting Indigenous People’s Day and creating a memorial on campus for the history of race at MIT. Farther in the future, I plan to become a patent attorney so that I can bridge the racial innovation gap.
LASM: Do you imagine yourself in the bigger context of Black Lives Matter? Have you received feedback from people? What has it been?
As the first Black female President of the student government, I have the responsibility to hold MIT accountable for reducing the systems of oppression on campus. I see my role as pushing MIT to not only focus on oppression at MIT but also to use our platform and resources to tackle national issues. So far, I have received tremendous encouragement from across the globe and I am excited to have so much support.
LASM: What haven’t we asked that you would like to share?
I want to provide my encouragement for people to pursue their dreams and claim their space. I know of no one who has achieved success without ever having to hear the word no or suffering some moments of discouragement. I encourage everyone to embrace the Shirley Chisholm quote …”If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring your own folding chair.”