Even though it is a holiday today, we are still bringing you our normal Monday feature of Meet A Deac. Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Ashlee Canty of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Thanks again for doing this, Ashlee. Tell me your title, what you do in layperson’s terms, and how long you’ve been at Wake. I am the Inclusive Practice Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and I have been at Wake since July 2020. My role is to work with faculty, staff, and student leaders to help align their work with that of our RIDE framework for inclusive excellence. I create trainings, collect data, and consult on the process of creating a more inclusive Wake Forest for all.

Taking a new job is always an adjustment, but never more so than during the pandemic! Will you share a little bit about your educational background? I went to North Carolina State University and received a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Genetics. For graduate school, I went to Western Illinois University and got my Master of Science in College Student Development, then went on to get a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies from DePaul University.

As a recent grad school nerd myself, I always love to hear about people’s doctoral work. What was your dissertation title? My title was “Experiences of Black Sorority Women with Racism and Sexism at Predominantly White Institutions.”

I know you have been at Wake for less than a year – is it too soon to ask what you like most about working here? The other question I often ask is what you miss about normal times on campus. To your first question, I grew up in Winston Salem, so I love being home and visiting campus. I also love the people and the team that I work with. As to the question about what I miss most….since I started mid-pandemic, I’ve been on campus only a few times. I look forward to being on campus and finally meeting (in person!) the people I’ve only had the opportunity to connect with virtually.

Talk to me about how COVID has impacted you. What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced? The lack of engagement has been tough. Many of my friends live out of state, so not being able to travel and connect has been a challenge.

Let’s pivot and talk students for a minute. If you had the opportunity to offer our students advice, what would that be?
Explore your passions, join student organizations, and find a community that supports you throughout time here at Wake Forest and beyond. Some of my best friends who have become family, I met in college and graduate school.

Follow up question: what advice would you give family members if they asked? Be supportive. It’s a short four years, but a great time for students to explore their interests, learn more about who they are and what they believe, and also build connections that may last a lifetime. Be supportive in their new interests, and give them space to grow, make mistakes, and take risks!

Now we’ve arrived at the quick-hit, lightning round questions:

Book "Such a Fun Age" by Kiley ReidBook you’re reading now: I am reading Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

Beyonce in LemonadeFavorite band or musician: Beyonce, Cardi B, Taima, Saweetie, Backstreet Boys, Jeezy, I have so many options depending on my mood on my playlist.

Favorite movies/TV/Netflix, etc.: I love all things True Crime. My favorite movies would be About Last Night (the remake) and Sex and the City 1. My favorite tv shows are Insecure, Law and Order SVU, Black-ish, This Is Us, A Million Little Things, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Snowfall, and Queen of the South.

Websites you frequent: Hmmmmm…Chewy for my dog for sure, Buzzfeed for quizzes, pop-culture, and news. Nordstrom (they have everything!) Instagram – I love pictures, blogs, and finding random recipes.

a beautifully arranged charcuterie boardGuilty pleasures: Charcuterie, avocado, oh and especially tacos!

Introvert or extrovert: A little bit of both. I hate small talk, but love to talk, then need time for myself to decompress when I’ve been a bit “over social.”

What is the first thing you will do post-pandemic when we can live normal lives again? TRAVEL! I want to be on a beach, with a book, and good food.

What else would you like to add that I haven’t asked? I have a two-year-old Australian Labradoodle, Kennedy, who is a pre-pandemic pup, but she has definitely helped me balance working from home and taking breaks to enjoy the sunshine.

We’re glad you’re with us, Ashlee. Thanks for all you do for our campus, and for being willing to share yourself with us in Meet A Deac!

(Editor’s note: past Meet A Deacs are archived here).

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

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