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Aries Powell is the assistant director of cultural life and LGBTQ+ advisor.
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Soccer balls sit outside the goal during the annual Harambee Soccer Tournament.

Aries Powell

At Knox Since: 2022

Assistant director of cultural life and LGBTQ+ advisor

Aries Powell (they/them) recently took the position of assistant director of intercultural life and LGBTQ+ advisor at Knox College.

Aries Powell is the assistant director of cultural life and LGBTQ+ advisor.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Delaware. When people ask me where I'm from, I say North Carolina because it's where I met all of my best and most beloved friends, and where I really built a community for myself for the first time. It’s where I came out to myself and everybody around me and really got to live my truth. 

Tell me about what you studied in undergraduate and graduate school. 

As an undergrad, I was a sociology major. Originally I specialized in criminal justice, but then I decided to switch because my real passion was sociological research and inequality. I received minors in Africana studies and in women's gender and sexuality studies at Wake Forest University. Then I started a master's degree program at theUniversity of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) in women's gender and sexuality studies, in which I specialized in Afro-indigenous thought systems and religions and the intersection with gender and colonialism.

What led you to Knox? 

When I was an undergrad, the LGBTQ+ Center was like my home away from home. It was the place where I felt most authentically myself and it gave me so many incredible opportunities to travel, learn, join national organizations, and really get steeped in the Queer community and knowledge. I'm planning on pursuing a Ph.D. one day, but I realized that although I love teaching and education, I have a passion for shaping work in college offices, like the intercultural life centers. What is happening outside the classroom is what made me passionate about reaching my goals and learning and getting degrees so I could go out into the world and do something good. I found that I wanted to do that for other students and I felt that it was incredibly important work. 

When I visited Knox, I was really drawn to the students and how passionate they are. The campus is absolutely beautiful. What really drew me to Knox was what I would be able to do in this position. I was really attracted to the people that I would be working with. 

What’s your favorite thing in Galesburg?

I'm really enjoying the Midwest so far. Everything is so close, people know each other, and they're kind to each other. My partner and I can afford to travel more than we used to, but I think what I like most is probably the food. My partner and I have eaten at almost every single restaurant in town at this point. I'm excited to branch out into the local area and eat my way through Peoria, Monmouth, and the Quad Cities. 

What duties are included in your position? 

A big part of my role is supporting cultural centers and student groups, like the LGBTQ+ activism club Common Ground. I actually went to a Common Ground meeting recently and introduced myself to the students so that they would know who I am. We discussed some programs we are each planning, and we're in the process of figuring out how our plans could fit together. I think one of the most important parts of this role is not the things that I want to do or what I think is important, but really listening to students and being a mentor and support for what they need and want. 

What would you say is the most important thing Knox students should know about you?

Students should know that I'm very real. I'm not going to beat around the bush. There may be times when you feel like I'm not doing what you want but there's always a reason behind it. If I can be transparent and let you into the process, I always will. Students should also know that I am a recent graduate. I was a student during the pandemic. I just finished my graduate program a year ago, and I was in college right before that. All of this is very recent for me, but I have had some time to look back, reflect, and think critically about what I would have done differently.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I'm not the type of person that can't talk to you about regular stuff. We can have a conversation. I'm chronically on Twitter. I love Beyonce’s Renaissance. We can talk about celebrity drama. I listen to a million podcasts, including those about celebrity gossip. If you just want to talk, to vent, or if you need help, I’m here. 

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Knox College

Printed on Friday, February 3, 2023