ASU MLK Jr. Committee Honors 2 Student Leadership Award Winners
Two students have been selected as the 2022 ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Fellows as part of Arizona State University’s annual MLK Jr. Celebration.
Encouragesaging the continuation of King’s legacy, each year, ASU’s MLK Jr. committee selects both a servant and a student-servant leader who have made a significant Ddifference in their community and in the lives of the people around them.
The winners Roicia Banks and Ivan Quintana.
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For the first time in his 37 years the story, ee vscommittee, chaired by the vice-president of ASU for Cultural Affairs Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, selected two ASU students to be honored with the 2022 Student Servant-Leadership Award.
Students RoIcie Banks and Ivan Quintana will both be honored at ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on January 20.
“All of the student applicants this year were top notch and made the selection extremely difficult,” said Jennings-Roggensack. ” When Roicia and Ivan made it to the top two picks, (the committee) decided to do something we had never done before and decided to honor them both. Their commitment and passion for leadership demonstrates Dr. King’s tenants and us are proud to honor them as the recipients of the 2022 Student-Servant Leadership Award.
Wthish eis the year‘s theme being “Inclusion starts with us” these students’ heritage, culture and educationing shaped them into the resilient and altruistic leaders they are today.
Having faced many challenges early in her life, being both a black and indigenous woman, growing up in foster care and being adopted by her late Hopi mother, Banks is the definition of a strong and resilient servant leader.
“I have done so much at my age because I faceD some of the toughest challenges early in my life,Banks said. “I had to find what athe bandage was then really try to work through my identity, and being biracial was super difficult. Ssince I had a lot of these challenges early on, by the time I graduated from high school and went to college, I had a good foundation of who I was, and it all blossomed. after that.”
Banks are a first generation graduate, having hearneed a bachelor’s degree in both African and African American studies and pPolitics sscience to ASU. She then received it mthe aster diploma in Social Work from the University of Houston. This education and ten years of experience as a social worker for state and tribal governments inspired Banks to make a bigger impact.
“I was definitely an advocate and fighter for my workload, my kids,Banks said. “But I started to realize that I get solutions and deliver solutions, and nobody wants them, or nobody cares about implementing them.. I realized (the foster care system) is just an oiled machine that works, and nobody really cares about preventative measures. I could not any more.“
In 2018, Banks became the owner and founder of Social Roots LLC, a company that focuses on improving African American and Indigenous communities, which not only preserves families, but ensures that children and adults have the resources to thrive in a healthy environment and community.
“I based Social roots based on my experiences and what I wanted social work to look like. I wanted be an answer to my own problems that I have seen happen in my communities,Banks said.
The company has extended its programming to “have a creative and cultural impact on those who experience traumaa ”, according to his website.
Aexample of this programming is ATTITUDE: A Mental Health Summit for African american women. This summit provides a safe space to learn and discuss the topics surrounding the Mental Health African-American professionals.
“I focus a lot more on culture because I realize culture has been a huge part of my growth and success in identify who I am, where we come from and our relationships; really unboxing and healing, you know, our familyYes trauma“Banks said.
Banks is extremely proud of her African American and Indigenous culture, and credits much of his success to the teachings and lessons of his tribe and hopi mother.
“Myour mother is a great model,Banks said. “I not realized how much a servant she was for our family and our community, and he was modeled right in front of me. It is because our culture reflects it so much, it’s just second nature and is the character of my tribe. I have had great examples of leadership and help others.”
Banks plans to continue her work at Social Roots LLC and is currently working for her Master in Legal Studies with a specialization in indigenous legal law at ASU.
“AT get to the root of what’s going on, it boils down to politics, it boils down to law, it boils down to codes, and I really just wanted to be armed with the understanding and knowledge of how to read these codes; how to be able to translatee the law and how does this affect us as a tribal nation, ”Banks said.
Banks feels both honored and proud to receive the student Servant-Price for leadership of the USS MLK Jr. Committee.
“I think a lot of times we downplay the work we do, maybe as women or women of color or as black women. We don’t really see the impact or the value measured in the same way. AT be in the same category with those life changing people, it’s honoring and humiliating, bBut I also have to admit that I am also in this space.“
Born and raised in a small town in northern Mexico by parents who completed the equivalent of a high school education, Ivan Quintana moved to the United States at the age of 18 to fulfill not only dreams and aspirations. of himself, but also of his family.
“Myour parents have made a lot of sacrifices so that I could have a quality education at the expense of themselves“said Quintana.”THey wanted our lives to be very different from theirs. ”
Quintana moved to America and started his secondary studies at Mesa Community College. During this two years period, Quintana has experienced the challenges of being both a first generation student and a low income student.
“I come I didn’t know how the university workeded, ”Quintana said. “I was working full time, going to school, trying to improve not only my life, but that of my family.
Corn Quintana quickly found comfort helping otherss in similar situations by becoming a college graduation ambassador for AmeriCorps Arizona Ready for College and Career program, from 2018 to 2019.
During his time in this program, Quintana conducted informative summer camps for high school students, helped high school students apply for both college and FASFA, and provideD emotional support for students and families.
“A a lot of times, those families were very similar to mine“said Quintana.” It was amazing to see that what they all wanted was a better life for their children. It made me want to keep doing this type of work.
So, while achieving academic success in community college and transferring to ASU in 2019, Quintana continued to work tirelessly to help others achieve their dreams.
Quintanathe work of extends from virtually tutoring a third-grader in Los Angeles during the pandemic to being a STEM instructor for Chicanos Por La Causa, where he helped pilot an online treasure hunt program based on solving problems, analyzing clues and carrying out artistic and scientific projects at home
Quintana currently works for Trio Grant, which is a collection of federally funded college programs created to help first-generation, low-income, disabled and veteran students.
“His really cool to be able to join eis kind of family that has existed since the 1960s and was designed to help students like me,”Said Quintana.
All these experiences helped Quintana realize that first generation students have a hidden wealth and strength not found in your typical academic, and he encourages the first generationeration students to see their life as an asset.
“I think a lot of times the company describes what success should look like. I know a lot students feel like they’re not good enough to be in collegee, corn (first generation students) have the assets to be a good goalkeeper and look for others“said Quintana. “There are a lot of cultural richness and cultural capital that we haves first-generation of low-income students; be grateful for this and … for the many things you have that others do not have. ”
Quintana is expected to graduate this spring with a double major in Criminal Justice and Criminology and Public Service and public policy. He plans to go to law school in order to advance educational policyIes at both state and federal levels.
Award-winning activist and chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has been selected by the ASU MLK Jr. committee as this year’s Servant-Leadership Award recipient. She, along with Faculty and Staff Fellows Neal Lester and Marcelino Quiñonez, will be honored with Banks and Quintana on January 20.