Dr. Marquita Taylor has always had a vision.
Prior to her three years with Dwight Hall, Marquita’s vision was honed through fierce determination and persistence as she earned her Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, a certificate in Race and Equity, and a host of professional experiences. Through practice in youth development, research, communications, and entrepreneurship, the world was able to share and be inspired by Marquita’s vision.
In the fall of 2017, Marquita brought her vision to Dwight Hall at Yale. Joining the team as an Education VISTA, Marquita worked diligently to build relationships with community leaders, students, and university administrators. Her year was highlighted by developing a new cohort of Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program mentors and students. This program builds three-year relationships between mentors and students, and Marquita’s guidance in the first year was essential to the success of the graduating class of 2020.
Also in her first year, Marquita used her focus in equity and inclusion to create “Community Engagement 101,” a presentation that has transformed to today’s “New Haven is Not Our Playground.” This presentation, given to incoming first-years, student leaders, and graduate schools, outlines themes of privilege, power, and defines what it means to be a Yale student that hopes to learn from the New Haven community.
Following her first year as a VISTA, Marquita assumed the role of Assistant Director for Innovation and Leadership Development and lent her talents to building programs like the Social Innovation Lab, Neighbors-in-Residence, and developing a portfolio of workshops and trainings. Marquita also contributed to the growing success of FOCUS on New Haven and creative partnerships across the university.
A key area of growth for Dwight Hall was Marquita’s relationship-building with graduate and professional schools. Not only did these efforts result in effective programming that year, but it also contributed to the development of Graduate Service Fellows, featuring several well-honed and hugely popular community workshops.
Over Marquita’s three years, her contributions have not only expanded relationships and programming, but has also developed important business processes around communications, events, and reflective practices. Marquita has written articles showing unequivocally the results of community engagement. While some of Marquita’s work has been recognized externally, much of her improvements have been internal, too. A fine example of this is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion survey that Dwight Hall began administering in the spring of 2020, designed to understand what students are being reached and participate in our programming.
Marquita leaves Dwight Hall as the Director for Inclusion and Leadership Development, a role that has resulted in a legacy of leadership, relationships, and programming that will make an indelible impact on Dwight Hall at Yale. We thank her for lending us her skills, good nature, and vision over the past three years, and look forward to her success in the future.