Yazmin Watkins '09

Yazmin Watkins '09

Photo by Scott Garfield

Yazmin Watkins '09, Environmental Steward, Walt Disney Studios; Actress; Spoken-Word Poet

Major: American Studies

What I love most about what I do: Aside from being on the sets of Hollywood movies, I love being able to blend my love of sustainability and my love of film to make a difference. 

How Dickinson prepared me for what I do: Dickinson set the foundation for my global perspective on sustainability and incorporated green standards into students' daily lives. 

How I chose Dickinson: I received a merit leadership scholarship from the Posse Foundation. Going through that program and succeeding at Dickinson truly changed my life.

My favorite activity/organization at Dickinson: My time spent with the Silent Poets performing on campus showed me the power of our voices, and I recently released my first book of poems, Love Without Limits—The Bi-Laws of Love

The accomplishment I was most proud of at Dickinson: My involvement in helping to charter the first Greek organization of color on campus, Delta Sigma Theta, which has had a huge impact on my life.

What "striving for accountability" means to me: I believe we have a personal responsibility to leave this world a better place than we found it, and I hope to leave that legacy through my art, my sustainable work and practice, and the lives I touch on a daily basis. 

The most challenging part of my work: Trying to convince people to change their minds and their actions about sustainability in line with Disney's new sustainable practices. The real challenge is finding a way to tastefully cajole even the most hardened crew members into believing that small changes add up. That they can make a difference in reducing our carbon footprint.

My favorite professor: Professor Jerry Philogene in the American-studies department. Her course on black feminist thought provided pivotal perspectives on the development and materialization of black American feminist thought within historical, social, political and cultural contexts that laid the foundation for my own empowerment and success as a queer woman of color on campus and in the workforce. I consider her to be a personal friend to this day. I would be remiss not to mention my mentor, Joyce Bylander [special assistant to the president on institutional & diversity initiatives and Posse mentor], as well. I absolutely adore that phenomenal woman! 

My favorite place on campus: I would definitely say the HUB cushies. No matter the time of day, you could always guarantee to run into or connect with someone! They were so always so comfy too! 

The accomplishment I am most proud of today: I am proud to say I am pursuing my passion. Although it is a tough road for anyone to travel, the small daily accomplishments add up to larger success further down the road. It is easy to lose yourself postgraduation, but in staying true to my passion, I know I am on the right track.

Published Aug. 22, 2012