Senior Spotlight: Julie Ann Aryee '22
When Business Administration major Julie Ann Aryee '22 came to Whittier College from Northern California she looked for a space to call “home” on campus.
Being the leader that she is, she created this space herself by co-founding the Afro Fusion Dance Team on campus.
“The best part about being a part of Afro Fusion is being able to share my passion for my culture and dance with my teammates but also being in a safe space with black women from a variety of backgrounds,” said Aryee. “Afro Fusion is my safe space, it is where I go when I need to get my mind off things and just dance with the people I love. They are the people I go to when I'm stressed out or upset, they are always there for me no matter what. The girls on this team are not only my teammates but my sisters as well.”
Aryee has also been involved with the Diversity Council and Black Student Association and was one of the student speakers during Black Graduation. She also worked as a student assistant at Wardman Library and orientation advisor for the Dean of Students Office. As a result of her diligent efforts, the Afro Fusion Dance Team won the Student Organization Excellence Award, and individually, Aryee was awarded a Senior Key and the Miss Margo Latif Memorial Award during the Student Life Awards Ceremony.
Aryee’s studies focused on business and marketing with a minor in Africana and Black Studies.
“The best thing about my minor was getting to learn more about black history as it is not normally taught and getting to connect with the black professors within the classes," said Aryee, who received Outstanding Academic Achievement honors in Africana and Black Studies during the 2022 Honors Convocation.
“My favorite class was Poetics of Hip Hop with Prof. Douglas Manuel II because it was one of the most creative classes at Whittier and one of my favorite genres is Hip Hop, therefore, getting to dive into the deeper meaning of Hip Hop was rewarding,” she added.
Like that of her peers, Aryee’s studies were interrupted by COVID-19. “During the pandemic, I learned a lot about myself and how to advocate for myself. I began taking steps towards being independent and focusing on what I could do now to reach my career goals in the future,” she said.
Aryee’s plans after graduation include working with the Santa Clara Valley Water District as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intern for three months. Ultimately, she plans on being a dance teacher and opening up her own dance studio.