As a Black woman, the transition to a primarily white institution will never be easy, especially coming from places that do not lack diversity of people who look like you. Nafisah Conix is no stranger to this transition, and she has found a graceful way to stay true to who she is, advocate for herself and make her presence known here at Shippensburg University.
“I went to high school where education was not very highlighted which was very different here at Ship. But an upper bound program is what truly prepared me for my transition,” Conix said.
Conix is a senior social work major whose hometown is Philadelphia. (She is a Libra, born Oct. 10.) She was not always the approachable, charismatic person that she presents herself to be today. During her freshman year at SU, she did not consider herself outspoken, nor did she advocate for herself at all. But when she ran into racism — being called the N-word during Welcome Week — is when she found people and groups here that taught her how to become outspoken along with becoming her advocate.
“I was able to find guidance in a former RD Karla Moses, who showed me how to advocate for myself respectfully and professionally,” Conix said.
This then set a path for an unstoppable young Black woman.
Conix is involved in the Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Government Association, Student Ambassadors and the President of the National Council for Negro Women. She enjoys all the clubs and organizations she is in and takes pride in helping her peers navigate their college experiences.
“I am always trying my best to get insight into what my peers need to be successful. I also make myself very approachable to not just my peers but to staff as well, which is what sets me apart from other leaders. I always remember that I am a human before a leader,” Conix said.
Conix’s passion for social work sparked when she noticed the social worker who assisted her brother who has a disability. Between seeing that and having an undeniable sense of helping people, she knew that she wanted to harness her experience and personality to help others.
“Working with people always brings me joy. I am always going out of my way for people and will help others before I help myself,” Conix said.
Nafisah knows that she is in a fishbowl at Shippensburg, but that has not stopped her. She has come into her voice and has not allowed any shortcomings to get in the way of the person she knows she is meant to be. Some advice she offers her peers is, “always be yourself and never be afraid to be different. Get involved and most importantly advocate for yourself. We are in a world where not everyone will like you but never be afraid of being who you are because of someone else’s opinion.”
When Conix graduates, she hopes to attend graduate school to get a masters in social work and work in an Upper bound program like the one that prepared her to take on Shippensburg. She also works within a community from high schoolers to young adults.
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