An Optimistic Outlook

Bryn Mawr was my first real opportunity at free thought.

Although I grew up in New York City, I was often the only Black student or Black female in my elementary and middle school classes. My high school was marginally more diverse; however, the curriculum was still quite Eurocentric. In order to succeed, all you had to do was memorize the material and regurgitate it during exams or in reports. Bryn Mawr was my first real opportunity at free thought. I could not get enough of the classes, clubs, and events at the College, Haverford, Swarthmore, Villanova, and Penn. While I had explored many of the cultural institutions in New York, prior to college, I never had access to lectures featuring acclaimed Black authors or to Afrocentric courses.

I also felt supported by other students, faculty, and staff of color across the campuses. There was some tension between the various cultural groups at Bryn Mawr, but it seemed to be a competition for funding or attention and not true animosity. For the most part, we shared all sorts of information from academic advice to hair and makeup tips. There were trials and tribulations, but in the end, I graduated with an optimistic outlook for the future.

Overall, I had a positive experience at Bryn Mawr, and I hope that my daughter will graduate from the College in 2036!


This issue of the Alumnae Bulletin presents reflections from Black alumnae/i and students spanning 65 years in the life of the College.

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Joelle née Webb Ekunwe '04 was born and raised in Queens, New York. After graduating from BMC, she earned a J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She works as an FX and derivatives lawyer in New York. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her children and husband, traveling, and listening to music.