Monday, March 14, 2016

Leadership lived: Student embraces advocacy while at UIS

Grace Latimore has learned being a leader is not always easy and that it often requires time and effort. However, the University of Illinois Springfield senior English major says she’s up for the challenge.

“I’ve learned it’s incredibly important to know how to follow other people before you are a leader,” she said. “A leader can’t lead just themselves. You have to have people who trust you and trust your vision and are willing to follow you.”

Latimore is president of the UIS Black Student Union, which aims to educate, uplift and empower African American students. They host regular meetings on campus and sponsor special event, such as the Ebony Ball, each year.

She also volunteers as a mentor for high school students in the 4-H program and is the fiction editor for the Alchemist Review, the literary journal on campus.

Her passion for advocacy recently led her to create a documentary called Beneath the Surface. The film explores what it means to be a minority in higher education.

“It’s been well received,” she said. “I’ve had faculty mentors and people who are really supportive of me and I don’t feel like those same resources are available to a student when there’s 20,000 plus students.”

Latimore chose UIS because it was part of the University of Illinois. She says she’s gotten opportunities here she wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

“We are the smallest of the three campuses, which means in many instances we have a ton of resources, but not that many students. So the opportunities per student are increased,” she said.

Following graduation, Latimore would like to work in media relations and possibly become a publicist.

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