Student drawn to black studies, overseas learning

20160405-5_FACES Fogg Ethan_57(1)

Ethan Fogg ’16

Hometown: Goshen, NY
Major(s): Sociology, Black Studies
Graduation Date: Spring 2016
Clubs/Organizations: Black Student Union
Study Abroad:
Jamaica Service Learning Program (Summer 2014)
New Zealand (Spring 2015)
Scholarships: Global Scholar Program
Internships: Children’s Center at Dutchess County Family Court

What was your biggest takeaway from studying abroad?

The Jamaica Service Learning Program under Dr. La Tasha Brown was my first time going overseas. I became close with a lot of people and it was my stepping stone to knowing what it was like to be abroad. I got to assist in an alpha boys’ school, with children who are considered at risk. It was rewarding, and seeing the poverty in Jamaica showed me how lucky I am. It also opened my eyes to my Jamaican ethnicity, and allowed me to learn more about myself.

I also went abroad to Wellington, New Zealand, in spring 2015. My grandmother was born in New Zealand, so I got to meet cousins and other family. I learned more about who I was. New Zealand also connected with my black studies major. The culture of their indigenous population called the moriori was very similar to what I’ve studied about the Caribbean and ancient Africa.

Why New Paltz?

I really wanted to take a Black Studies class, and none of the other schools I visited had a history with Black Studies the way New Paltz does. I always looked up to Malcolm X, and his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz went here. I’m very into activism, and New Paltz had that liberal vibe. In the Black Studies Department, I feel like I can be myself. It’s a comfortable and open space. Being part of a Black Student Union is another great place to express myself, where people are receptive to my ideas.

Ethan Fogg ’16 participating in a rally to support the Black Studies Department in December 2015.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I hope to work with children, but I have no specific age group in mind. At the Children’s Center, I work with children whose parents are in family court, so they’re going through a lot. Some of their parents are going through domestic violence cases. It’s opened my eyes, and it’s hard, but it’s rewarding in the end. I keep the children distracted from what’s going on in their personal lives and let them have some fun.

My plan is to take a year off before graduate school, so I’m going to Florida to participate in City Year, an AmeriCorps program that partners with schools in high-poverty areas. I’m going to be working with a lot of students of color, so I hope to teach them about black history, and also Latino history.