Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Sociology student named Outstanding Black Student Leader

Sociology student named Outstanding Black Student Leader

MARCH 2, 2021 — To finish off UTSA’s inspiring Black History Month celebration that featured renowned speakers and impactful conversations, the university’s Multicultural Student Center for Equity & Justice selected a recipient for the Outstanding Black Student Leadership Award. Senior sociology major Chriara Stevenson was named this year's recipient.

“Chriara was selected because of her multiple years of leadership in student organizations, including president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and vice president of the Black Law Student Association,” said Vincent Perez, program manager of the Multicultural Student Center for Equity & Justice. “Chriara's nomination showcased her leadership abilities, service to the community, and dedication and commitment to serving and helping others.”


“Both degrees will equip me with the tools to save families prior to monumental decisions that affect their livelihoods.”



A Houston native and first-generation college student, Stevenson believes this award solidifies that she is on the path to breaking the barriers she has seen growing up.

“As an African American woman, we are faced with two barriers: being black in a predominately white society and being a woman in a patriarchal system of oppression,” Stevenson said. “Often forgotten in the rage of black male injustice, our frustrations are often ignored. In the past, I struggled with bitterness because I fit into all the black stereotypes; fatherless, broken home, and a product of an ‘angry black woman.’ Instead of acknowledging discontent, I repurposed these attributes as my testimony. I will break those generational curses to help everyone in need, despite any social, racial, economic, and/or political affiliation.”

UTSA created the Outstanding Black Student Leadership Award to honor Black students who have excelled in the classroom and developed a better sense of community on campus across cultural and ethnic lines through campus involvement and leadership activities.

“Students can self-nominate or be nominated by faculty, staff, or students. Applications are sent to a selection committee who use a rubric review and score each application and select the award recipient,” Perez explained. “This year we received multiple nominations, highlighting the plethora of student leaders we have at UTSA.”

Stevenson, who will graduate with her B.A. in sociology, strives to obtain a Master in Social Work and a Juris Doctorate degree. 

“Having had experience with social workers first hand, I understand the importance of this role in society,” she said. “My goal, ever since I can remember, has been to help others who have been in similar situations as I have growing up.”

She’s specifically invigorated to help families continuously torn apart by mass incarceration in the United States — especially those in the African American community. Stevenson said many of these cases result in child protective services barging in with little regard for what is best for the families in question.

“Both degrees will equip me with the tools to save families prior to monumental decisions that affect their livelihoods,” she said.

Valerie Bustamante



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