Umoja Spring, 2023 Graduate Interview Questions
Spring 2023 Graduate
Q: DESCRIBE SENIOR YEAR AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?
2022-2023 has been the most challenging but fruitful year for me. I am the first person in my family to obtain a Doctoral degree. I will graduate from Edgewood College on May 13, 2023. My name is Nakia S. Wiley, and I identify as a Black, Cisgendered, Disabled, Woman. I started my destination towards my dissertation before the pandemic and I knew it would be a challenge but never could imagine all of the pain, tears, loss, grief, and joy I experienced.
Q: WHAT DID THIS PAST YEAR TEACH YOU ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW?
When COVID started I was experiencing upper respiratory issues. I suffer from asthma so I was already susceptible to infections. I have had COVID three times since the pandemic. My husband (Wesley), son (T’Quan), and two year old granddaughter (Nanaka) all have had COVID as well. I also lost my childhood friend from COVID.
Q: DESCRIBE YOUR MOST REWARDING COLLEGE EXPERIENCE.
The past few years have taught me to make my moments count. I have learned to speak my truth in love and advocate for those who don’t have the knowledge, resources, and strength.
Q: WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER HAD TO DO?
In addition to the trauma from COVID, my sister-in-law, my grandmother, and Aunt all have been diagnosed with cancer. My brother passed away from a heart attack. My son has been suffering from a decline in his mental health. Life has been rough and a lot to deal with so I try to stay busy to keep from falling into deep depression.
Q: WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Despite the ups and downs I still have joy. My husband Wesley Matthews, has been a rock and my best friend. We met in 2001 and have been fighting the storms of life together ever since. He truly inspires me because no matter what life throws at us he stays focused and strong.
Q: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
In ten years from now I see myself still living and working in Madison, Wisconsin. I love this liberal city and I want to continue to make it a wonderful place for all humans. I plan to be a district leader at Madison Metropolitan School District in ten years as well. I currently hold a Superintendent’s license and I’m currently obtaining my Director of Pupil Services and Special Education License. I believe that my heart is for all of the people and I will work hard to help bring our city together in an authentic and prosperous manner.
Q: HOW WILL YOU CHANGE THE WORLD?
I plan to change the world by being myself. I practice forgiveness and kindness. I fight social injustices and seek to empower the oppressed. I will speak up and out when I see anyone being harmed because of their race, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, personality, social-economic status, or religion.
Q: IF YOU HAD TO START A NONPROFIT, WHAT CAUSE WOULD IT SUPPORT?
If I would start a non-for-profit it would be to help the disability community secure appropriate housing, resources, education, finances, and support so they can live a life that brings them joy.