As a little girl, Jazmyne Kellogg recalls that her mother would always say her favorite color was black. Every doll Kellogg played with was black and every painting in her family’s house was of a black person.
“I remember being quite perplexed at the idea of black being her favorite color,” Kellogg said. “No one’s favorite color could be black, right? I could not think of good things being associated with the color. I mean there is black ice and black cats, neither of which seemed very positive. Plus, as a young girl, I was socialized to believe girls’ favorite colors were pink or purple and sometimes yellow or orange, but never black.”
At the time, Kellogg was perplexed by her mother’s focus. Now, the University of Washington College of Education graduate student recognizes how lucky she was to have a parent committed to identifying positive representations of black people.
It was her time at college, including a writing intensive course titled, “What’s Race Got to Do With It?” that prompted Kellogg to begin considering a career in education.
“As a sociology major, I was most interested in the intersections of race and equity in education. I was interested in how education can function as a means of mobilizing people and helping them achieve a higher standard of living.”
Kellogg also served as the president of the Black Student Union, which provided first-hand experience creating community for all types of students, especially those from marginalized communities.
“That experience taught me that it’s OK to focus on black folks. As soon as you try to focus on one group, people will argue that ‘All lives matter.’ This is true, but sometimes we need to focus on specific marginalized groups.”
In moving from the Midwest to the UW College of Education for her graduate studies, Kellogg hopes to be an example for younger students in her community that they have the potential to succeed wherever they choose to go.
As a first-year student in the master’s in education policy program at the UW, Kellogg is focusing on community-based learning. In the spring and summer, she will participate in an internship aligned with her interests and the types of work she may do in the future. After graduating, she plans to return to the Chicago area and apply what she has learned in her program.
“My big goal is to change the way that schools are funded in Chicago and the surrounding areas, so that every student has an opportunity to go to a school that has adequate, if not abundant, resources with the option to go onto higher education. Specifically, I hope to impact students of color and especially black students.”
In addition, Kellogg would like to be a part of reforming K-12 curriculum to include historically marginalized voices. She wants to promote inclusion in school curriculum by assigning work that provides students with an opportunity to explore topics of race, gender and sexuality.
“I hope students become comfortable at earlier ages in engaging with how their personal identities shape the way that they learn. I am also passionate about seeing other black women thrive. I want to show black girls that there is room for all of us to win. I want them to think about who came before, recognizing their contributions to us and to our culture. That’s what I hope to continue.”
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications