Danielle Taitt, class of 2016

Advocating for Herself and Others
Assistant Director for Multicultural Recruitment, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.A. Science, Technology & Society
Affinity or Alliance: Black and Latinx Alumni Network for Community and Equity (BALANCE)

How did your Lehigh experience inform, help, or influence your life?
One of the things you have to know how to do at Lehigh is advocate for yourself. It wasn’t easy transitioning from a New York City public high school. I watched how my peers navigated their college experience, and I picked up how I can better advocate for myself by asking for the things I need to succeed.

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced since graduating?
Everyone has this spoken (and sometimes unspoken) expectation that you have to have your life “together” right after you graduate or a couple of years after. Many people are still trying to decide what their ideal career is, where they want to live, if they want to pursue a higher degree, and many other factors. I had to come to terms with this and be patient with my own career growth.

Fast forward to today, I’ve found myself in a profession where I advocate for underrepresented students. Navigating “moving up” in the world requires you to ask for opportunities – even when you don’t think you’ll get a positive response. You’ll surprise yourself how many opportunities you’ve locked yourself out of if you simply do not ask.

Navigating ‘moving up’ in the world requires you to ask for opportunities – even when you don’t think you’ll get a positive response.

What excites you right now?
Probably a good documentary. Right now, I’m really into documentaries on food – where some of our most common food products come from and the politics behind it. Rotten is a good docuseries on Netflix.

What advice would you give current Lehigh students OR what’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
I’d say be bold. College is a time to explore any- and everything you’re interested in. Take the classes that interest you; take the classes that have nothing to do with your major. I find myself often reflecting on courses and professors that had nothing to do with my major!

What keeps you connected to Lehigh?
The people. I’ve met some of my closest friends and associates at Lehigh and made so many memories. Apart from the buildings and classes, it’s the people I’ve met who made me smile or laugh through some challenging moments at Lehigh.