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County native named fellow at UNCW

Venita Jenkins, a native of Charlotte Court House, has been named a fellow for the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s new Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program.

Each fellow can serve for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three consecutive years.

Venita Jenkins

Jenkins said being a part of the UNCW Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program will allow her to contribute in a small way to strengthen the campus community.

“I am excited about the opportunity to help the university build a more inclusive campus through new initiatives,” Jenkins said. “UNCW is a great school, and we want to ensure that everyone feels like they are a part of our community of scholars and that they feel supported.

Jenkins, a 1992 graduate of Randolph-Henry High School, has also served as a content and communication specialist at UNCW for the past six years.

According to Jenkins, she will be working closely with the interim chief diversity officer on the university’s diversity and inclusion strategic plan, which will have specific goals and metrics for the university related to recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff; scholarships; pipeline programs; and other initiatives involving various areas of the university.

“I hope to be able to work with our Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning on several projects such as the UNCW’s Equity Institute,” Jenkins said, “The proposed institute would create positive social change by supporting an interdisciplinary network of scholars, and community members focused on research, scholarship and learning that addresses community needs.

When it comes to her success, Jenkins said she owes that to her grandparents, Curtis and Irene Jenkins. “They instilled in me values of caring for others and hard work.” She said. 

Jenkins also gives credit to her ninth-grade English teacher, Carol Schmidt, who taught her to have an open mind and be a lifelong learner.

“I’ve always had a passion for using my skills to uplift people and connecting people who may not otherwise have crossed each other’s paths,” Jenkins said. “There’s something about discovering you have more in common with people than differences.”