Photo by Mike Lovett

Jade Eckels ’18

 

Brandeis Inside Out: Jade Eckels

Get the inside skinny on what it means to be Brandeisian from students themselves

Martin Luther King Jr. scholar Jade Eckels ’18 lost no time immersing herself in campus life. The Atlanta native participates in the Brandeis Black Student Organization, the Brandeis African Student Organization, the Women of Color Alliance and Brandeis Democrats. She is an English Language Learning Initiative tutor and a fellow of Brandeis Bridges, an organization that seeks to strengthen ties between African-American and Jewish undergraduates.



What do you nerd out about?

Both faculty and outside speakers give amazing talks on campus. I love soaking up all the knowledge I can, whether it’s focused on my areas of study or not. Race, art, politics, science, technology, social policy — pretty much anything you can think of, interests me. Even the president of Ghana visited Brandeis, and I was fortunate to hear him speak.



What’s your proudest accomplishment outside the classroom?



I was part of a group of 10 Brandeis Bridges fellows who went on a civil-rights journey to the South. We’re now trying to foster positive relationships between African-American and Jewish students on campus. It’s really helped me find my passion and place at Brandeis.



What are the top three things that attracted you to Brandeis?



I was drawn to Brandeis’ reputation as an institution devoted to social justice, and I’m adamant about holding it to that standard. Through my extracurricular activities, I am helping other Brandeis students engage with racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, socioeconomic and sexual issues. Brandeis also offered countless academic options. There are minors in social policy, and peace, conflict and coexistence studies — all very Brandeisian. I also received a scholarship for my commitment to community service, which was attractive.



How do you describe Brandeis to family and friends back home?



As perfect for me. I always tell my family I could not imagine being at any other university. Brandeis is truly a place for everyone; no matter your interests or background you can find a group of similarly minded people. But you also meet people of diverse perspectives, and that can help you grow.



How have you changed since you came here?

Taking classes in the African and African American studies department has emboldened me to be active in the struggle for equality. It’s been an enlightening experience. I am so much more aware of my history as a black person now, and the ways in which that history has been belittled or erased. I’ve never been more proud to be who I am.