Ke’son Bullock-Brown ’19 (American studies, Africana studies) is making a mark on campus as executive board member and director of inclusivity for Student Senate, president of Club Basketball, member of the Order of the Scroll and Key, Detroit Service Trip leader, Residence Life advisor and member of New Student Programs and Black Student Union. Below, he discusses why he chose his majors, the summer internships that helped him share what he’s learning with elementary school and high school students, and his thesis project on the economics of black liberation.
Newark, New Jersey
Clubs and organizations:
The Order of the Scroll and Key, Student Senate (director of inclusivity and member of the executive board) Club Basketball (president), Black Student Union, New Student Programs, Detroit Service Trip leader and Residential Life advisor.
The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill A Dream by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt and Lisa Frazier Page.
On choosing a major:
When I came to Dickinson, I really wanted to have a major that would challenge me intellectually and still allow me to pursue my interests in history and English. It took me sitting in an Intro to Microeconomics course my first year to realize that I should follow my passions, and through that, I would experience success. American studies offered me an opportunity to constantly take challenging and innovative courses and work closely with professors. For Africana studies, the opportunity to learn and think about the history of Africana people was something I couldn’t ever ignore. For a long time in my history courses, I struggled finding content that reflected or represented my identity. Being an Africana studies major has given me a lot of pride and has become therapeutic.
Why I decided to attend Dickinson:
I felt as though Dickinson gave me a chance to truly blossom into the person I’ve become today. I felt I was beginning to hit my academic stride during my senior year of high school, and Dickinson gave me the best opportunity to truly take advantage of that, through a generous financial aid package and an abundance of advisors and support systems. I created a really strong relationship with Molly Boegel in the admissions office, which certainly made it easier to choose to come here, because I had already established a personal relationship.
Favorite place on campus:
Favorite Dining Hall food:
Favorite class/learning experience (and why):
My favorite class, Theories of Power and Resistance in the Americas, took place during the first semester of my junior year, with [Assistant Professor of American Studies] Marisol LéBron. It felt like a collaborative research project. Every student in that class was actively engaged, and we all handled some tough scholarship on cultural theory. Professor LeBron challenged the class and truly helped me improve my writing and critical thinking skills.
[Associate Professor of American Studies] Cotten Seiler. He has always been a major support system for me, and he helped me become the student and scholar I am today. From the day I met him in my first-year seminar, he's held me to the highest standard, and he has challenged me. I truly look at him as a mentor, and I really admire his work and the respect he has among his colleagues and in the American studies field.
As I kid, I wanted to be …
… my dad.
In a perfect world …
… Fred Hampton is president.
My biggest influence in my life will always be my parents. As I get older and learn more about their individual stories, they will forever be the people I look up to most. I’ve learned everything from them, whether it be how to treat and respect other people or how to work hard and persevere. They’ve constantly been an influential part of my life.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… J. Cole.
About my internships:
I’ve had the luxury of working with students in several different capacities during my summers as an undergrad. My first two summers I was a program and athletic director with Exploration Schools on the campus of Yale University, working with international and domestic students to provide them a liberal-arts-centered summer enrichment opportunity. This past summer I got to work with DREAM, formerly known as Harlem RBI, teaching reading comprehension and baseball skills to third- and fourth-grade students at BRICK Peshine school. The relationships I’ve built through both of these programs remain true today, and I have grown very close with the students and teachers I’ve worked with.
Becoming a member of The Order of the Scroll and Key.
About my research:
My senior thesis project in American studies is “Does the Dollar Ever Solve the Issue? Examining Black Capitalism and the Rhetoric of Finance as Insufficient Means for Liberation.” I’ve decided to take on this project because I feel that liberation and freedom are constant journeys that black people pursue throughout their daily lives, and with the rising popularity of hip hop and rap music, black elites continue to propose messages of financial stability as a means for freedom but have yet to truly contribute to any real measures of freedom.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
Work hard at your talents, and work even harder at the things you aren’t good at.
Read more Student Snapshots.
Published May 7, 2019