Student Spotlight: Tamika Black

Tamika Black
Tamika Black

Student Senate president earning A.A. with Emphasis in Anthropology

Tamika Black, 24, is an exceptionally engaged student on the campus of Inver Hills Community College. Tamika serves as Student Senate president, Volunteering Individuals Brings Empowerment (VIBE) president and Black Student Union (BSU) communication officer. She also participates in TRIO Student Support Services.

“You really benefit from being involved in student clubs and organizations,” Tamika said. “You make connections with others—and that’s what matters most. Having a group of people that has the same interests as you adds a fun layer to being on campus—and the more you’re on campus, the better you’ll do in your classes.”

Tamika is earning her Associate of Arts (A.A.) with Emphasis in Anthropology at Inver Hills. She discovered that studying anthropology is the best fit for a future career centered on helping make people’s lives better.

I went through almost all the majors that involve helping people, but once I took Cultural anthropology I was hooked,” she said. “The thought of being able to help people all over the world by just caring enough to learn more pulled me in. Plus, with my A.A. degree I will be able to achieve everything I want and more.”

Black Student Union perspective…

“At the beginning of October, the Black Student Union (BSU) kicked off the 2019–2020 year with a successful event, ‘What’s Up BSU?’ There are so many new members plus two new co-advisors, and the year is starting with a very positive vibe.
“Tamika Black is BSU’s communication officer. She keeps all BSU members informed via email and phone on all important BSU-related information.
“Tamika also leads the promotional side of events. She is a great asset as communication officer, adding leadership and comedy to the group.”
Catima Wilson
BSU Co-Advisor
TRIO SSS & Travelers EDGE Academic Advisor
Inver Hills Community College

After graduating from Inver Hills, Tamika has plans to attend Hamline University or Augsburg University to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Anthropology with a minor in Communication Studies. She is very much interested in going on to get her master’s and Ph.D., both those degrees focused on education.

Tamika’s career aspirations include opening her own group home for at-risk young people. “I would like to open my first group home in St. Paul and then one in Chicago,” she said. “Eventually, I would like to have a group home in all fifty states.”

Tamika’s own home life growing up inspired her to pursue this career goal. “My mom was very welcoming to all my friends,” she said. “She created a kind of safe house where we all felt like we belonged. I want others to experience that same feeling. Beyond that, I want to inform young people about all the resources that are out there and also show them how to expedite the process of accessing those resources.”

Motivational speaking is another career avenue Tamika is exploring. “I like telling my story, and people seem to identify with my experiences,” she said. “Plus, I’m funny—and I want to make it fun sharing what I’ve gone through. If I can make it, anyone can.”

Anthropology faculty perspective…

“Like Tamika Black, Inver Hills anthropology students are curious, motivated and engaged learners and social actors. They learn to critically view the world from multiple perspectives and use their knowledge and skills to make a difference.
“Anthropology is the study of what makes us human. One of the most holistic disciplines that studies humanity, anthropology unites the subfields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology and linguistic anthropology.
“Tamika exemplifies the type of student who ends up completing the A.A. degree with Emphasis in Anthropology. The first course she took in anthropology sparked her interest in the discipline and gradually she came to see how she can use anthropological perspectives, knowledge and tools to create social change.
“Tamika caught the ‘anthropology bug,’ so to speak. The study of anthropology is, as it turns out, remarkably contagious.”
Katie Nelson, PhD
Anthropology Faculty
Inver Hills Community College

More about the A.A. with Emphasis in Anthropology

The Associate of Arts (A.A.) with Emphasis in Anthropology is designed to introduce you to the field of anthropology as a whole, encouraging you to find your own anthropological directions while preparing you for more rigorous future education.
The study of anthropology at Inver Hills employs a series of approaches that teach you to be comparative in scope, evolutionary in depth and holistic in perspective.

More about Tamika…

Originally from Chicago and North Minneapolis, Tamika graduated from Academic Arts High School in West St. Paul, Class of 2014. She works while going to college as a TRIO SSS peer mentor and Student Life ambassador. Tamika was awarded two $500 Dakota Electric scholarships and one $1,000 Ellen McGee Scholarship. She has made the Dean’s List four times. And Tamika just received the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award. She was one of 20 students to be honored with the award, which included a scholarship.

Tamika’s family includes her mom, Tina, who is retired, her sister, Dominique, 32, who is studying to be a social worker at North Hennepin Community College , and her two nephews, Savion, 15, and Simeon, 9.

“By going to Inver, I inspired my sister to go to college,” Tamika said. “And I am so grateful to my mom. I look after her every day.”

In her free time, Tamika enjoys watching shows on Netflix, especially crime documentaries about serial killers. She is currently trying to binge-watch Daybreak, but she hasn’t made up her mind about the series yet.

Tamika is on track to graduate from Inver Hills December 2019. She resides in East St. Paul.

Student Life perspective…

“Tamika is incredibly skilled at getting new students involved while ensuring they have the tools, abilities and knowledge they need to succeed. She is a natural leader who is passionate about improving her community. I am just so thankful she chose to have her community be Inver Hills Community College!”
Nicki Bottko Woods
Associate Director of Student Life
Inver Hills Community College

Tamika at Inver Hills gallery

TRIO Student Support Services perspective…

“Tamika has been an exceptional Inver Hills student. Though she was nervous about entering college when she started, she sought out resources and support to help her succeed, such as TRIO SSS.
“As she gained confidence and experience, she has gotten involved in a variety of extracurricular and campus leadership roles, from joining student clubs to becoming a TRIO student mentor, to now serving as president of Student Senate.
“This semester, I have seen Tamika shift to focusing on empowering other students to become leaders and keep the projects she’s started going. That approach will ensure that her impact on the college continues after she graduates. And Tamika has done it all while excelling academically.”
Matt Kruger
TRIO SSS Director
Inver Hills Community College

“Tamika has been an integral part of our TRIO team for almost two years. She’s facilitated and led many cultural dialogues, presented at a state TRIO conference, co-created and led an escape room with two fellow mentors from scratch, and designed a new program called College 101.
“What I have truly enjoyed about being Tamika’s supervisor and academic advisor is her passion for and working with others. She doesn’t believe any of her classmates are capable of reaching their dreams; she KNOWS they are able to surpass their wildest dreams if they are given the right support to be successful.
“She is by far one of the most ambitious and successful students I’ve ever worked with. I will miss her wit, her ability think clearly and articulate concerns, and her desire to see all students be successful once she graduates in December. This is just the first of many graduations and I cannot wait to see how far she flies.”
Alicia Atwater
TRIO SSS Academic Advisor
Inver Hills Community College

Tamika Black Q & A

Tamika Black
Tamika Black

Why did you choose Inver Hills?
The location and how I felt welcomed every time I came to the campus.

What are your main duties as Student Senate president?
To make sure our student voices are being heard. Making sure I am always listening to what students want and need; making sure those changes are in the making in the senate.

What do you like best about Student Senate?
My favorite thing is about Student Senate is being able to be in the position to know what’s happening around campus. I like making connections with like-minded students.

Why did you join the Black Student Union (BSU)?
I felt I needed to be surrounded by people with similar backgrounds; I also wanted to let everyone know about black excellence while creating an atmosphere where people on campus will want to show off that excellence.

How has TRIO Student Support Services helped you adapt to college life?
Being apart of TRIO showed me that I wasn’t the only person who needs help sometimes. That it is fine to need a helping hand, but always remembering once I don’t need help to hold my hand out to help the next person. Being a part of this family has prepared me for my next steps by having tons of workshops explaining how to apply to four-year colleges and achieve financial literacy. TRIO offers me a place to vent when I feel overwhelmed.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What do you like best about studying anthropology?
How it connects to everything, and I don’t think people even notice it.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned in anthropology so far?
Learning how gender is used around the world. How in some cultures men are seen as the person who stays home, or how there are societies with just women.

What advice would you give students thinking about attending a community college?
Do it! Don’t think because it’s not a university you won’t get the same experience. You save money while having the same education. My only regret is not coming to Inver right after high school.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Being the owner and manager of group homes for at-risk youth, including opening my 50th location. My side job would be working as a motivational speaker telling my story. I would also own a few private properties and two vehicles, probably a Dodge Charger and a Tesla.

What one word best describes your experience at Inver Hills?


Tamika Black 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Sleeping
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Hawaii
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: That will be graduating from Inver this December.
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Buy property: apartment buildings and spectacular group homes with attached rec centers 2) Pay off the rest of my education and create huge endowed scholarships 3) Make sure my family is set for life
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Single Parents
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Little
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Helping as many people as I can to find the resources they need to be successful.
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Big Bird
  9. Dream occupation: Group home owner/motivational speaker
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Harriet Tubman
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: American Sign Language
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Selfishness
Learn more about Anthropology at Inver Hills by contacting:

Katie Nelson, PhD
Anthropology Faculty

Learn more about Student Life and Student Senate at Inver Hills by contacting:

Nicki Bottko
Associate Director of Student Life
Jenni Yamada
Student Life Activites Coordinator
Student Life
College Center Room 116

Learn more about TRIO Student Support Services at Inver Hills by contacting:

Matt Kruger
TRIO Student Support Services Director
Travelers EDGE Director

Alicia Atwater
TRIO Student Support Services Advisor

Tamika at Kick Off 2018
Tamika at Kick Off 2018

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