Community and Diversity

At Oxford College and Emory College, we don't just talk about diversity, we live it.

Here diversity is multidimensional. We pride ourselves on the mixture of people, beliefs, values, and social circles that compose our campus communities. To us, a diverse community is composed not only of different ethnicities, races, and religions, but of different social backgrounds, locations, and life experiences as well.

Learn more about our diverse community by reading the profiles below—current students share what diversity means to them, and how they've found their fit with Emory.

  • John Priddy >>
    Lone Tree, CO
  • Eric Sopshin >>
    Davie, FL
  • Amy Hou >>
    Bellevue, WA

  • Naveed Noordin >>
    Memphis, TN
  • Julianna Joss >>
    Anaheim, CA

  • Samah Sadig >>
    International citizen
  • Kenny Igarza >>
    International citizen

John Priddy

Lone Tree, Colorado
Political Science and History double major
Campus Involvement:
Diversity Initiative Fellow Office of Admission, Sophomore Advisor in Raoul Hall, Mock Trial Team, NAACP Political Action Committee, Volunteer at the Children's Hospital of Atlanta

How have you grown or changed by being a part of Emory's diverse community?

Being here has allowed me to engage with students I would never have met in my hometown—students from China, India, Nigeria, and other countries all across the world. Talking with them and learning about their backgrounds has been one of my favorite parts of college.

What's your favorite multicultural celebration on campus?

My favorite multicultural celebration is the COREtural showcase that happens during the CORE program. (CORE is an overnight program for high-achieving high school seniors from underrepresented backgrounds.) Several multicultural dance, step, singing, a capella, and even poetry groups share during the program. It's a celebration of the diversity within the Emory community.

Eric Sopshin

Davie, Florida
Strategy and Management Consulting, and Marketing double major
Campus Involvement:
Tour Guide, VP of Marketing for Emory Hillel

How did you know that you would fit in at Emory?

The summer before my senior year of high school, I took a campus tour. On campus, I saw posters and signs for events ranging from the arts to athletics to religious and cultural debates. Students smiled at each other while they walked to class with friends. I felt a genuine warm atmosphere here. I realized that while every student here is unique in his own ways, there is an emphasis on coming together as a community. That's exactly what I wanted in a college, and it's what I still feel today as an Emory student.

What's your favorite multicultural celebration on campus?

Diwali, hosted by Emory's Indian Cultural Exchange (ICE), is the biggest off-campus Emory event and a bucket-list event for every Emory student. This year I finally got tickets, so even though I haven't been yet, I can't wait to experience it. I've heard is an unforgettable night featuring Emory's dance teams, music, and full-course Indian meals!

Amy Hou

Bellevue, Washington
Environmental Sciences and Economics double major
Campus Involvement:
Undergraduate Sustainability Group, WaterHub tour guide, Orientation Leader, Student Government Association, Student Alumni Board, Emory Admissions, Kappa Phi Nu, Oxford College Sophomore Class Gift Committee

What identities do you feel most strongly connected to at Emory?

I feel most strongly connected to my Asian identity in general, but being at Emory has expanded my sense of the Asian community itself. As a Chinese person, I tended to think of "Asians" as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese people, essentially ignoring Indians, Pakistanis, Cambodians, and the rest of the continent in my use of the term. While each Asian country has very distinct cultures, they also have a lot in common. Recently, I went to see the comedian Hasan Minhaj with my Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese friends, and so much of what he said about growing up with Indian immigrant parents resonated with my childhood. At Emory, I have people to celebrate Chinese New Year with, to eat moon cakes with, and to speak Chinese with, but I also have friends who teach me new aspects of what it means to be Asian.

What is your favorite multicultural celebration on campus?

The Emory Pride Drag Show is not only a celebration of Emory Pride, but it also exhibits so many different cultures that are represented on campus. Performers include improv comedy troupes, multicultural dance teams, and a capella groups, all coming together to support the LGBTQ community. It's a blast to be a part of it!

Naveed Noordin

Memphis, Tennessee
Chemistry and Sociology double major
Campus Involvement:
Oxford and Emory Muslim Students Association, Oxford Hindu Students Association, Oxford Leadership Corp, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Orientation Leader, Cricket Club, Committee for Academic Integrity, Emory Inter-religious Council, Volunteer at Children's Health Care Outreach, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society

How did you know that you would fit in at Emory?

The summer before I started here, I was afraid that I would not fit in or be able to make friends. The night before freshman move in, I couldn't sleep, turning my pillow side to side thinking about if I would find my place at Emory. But from my first day on campus, I started getting a sense of how open and appreciative the community here is. Now I feel so blessed and grateful to be a part of such an engaging, stimulating, appreciative, and diverse Emory community.

How have your multiple, intersecting identities been celebrated on campus?

Coming into Emory, I had a big fear about how my intersecting identities of being a Muslim and an American would be received. I thought I would be the subject of much hostility from my peers. But instead of being the subject of hostility, I have been the subject of much respect, kindness, and so much acceptance. My heritage and I have been cherished and celebrated. This has given me the courage and confidence to tell someone proudly that I am a Muslim American, something I didn't have before coming here.

Julianna Joss

Anaheim, California
Political Science, and Dance and Movement Studies double major
Campus Involvement:
Freedom at Emory, Student Government Association, Emory Dance Company, Scholarship and Service, Kappa Kappa Gamma

How have your multiple, intersecting identities been celebrated?

My honors thesis in dance is actually exploring how identity influences and informs movement and how identity is communicated through the vessel of the moving body. As part of the Emory community, I have been so impressed with the confidence my peers have in their respective identities. It made me realize how confused I felt about my own identity, as a half-Jewish, part-Japanese woman. My quest for truth became this process of self-discovery, and the dance community has allowed me to explore this, which has been quite empowering. In addition, the Hillel community and the Bayit (Jewish living learning community) have embraced and deepened my personal relationship with Judaism.

What is your favorite multicultural celebration on campus?

This is not necessarily a celebration, but some of my most meaningful moments have been in Buddhist meditations offered weekly on campus. These have been invaluably self-reflective and self-restorative over the years. As a side note, the Tibetan monks that attend Emory are the kindest, brightest, and most amazing souls. We are so fortunate to have them in our community as part of the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

Samah Sadig

Ethnically Sudanese, international citizen (grew up in NC, NY, Saudia Arabia, and Qatar)
Media Studies major
Campus Involvement:
Marketing Student Association, African Students Association, Center for Civic and Community Engagement, Orientation Leader, Ngambika step group

What identity(ies) do you feel most strongly connected to at Emory?

I am most strongly connected to my black identity. The black community is like a big family. As soon as I got here I felt so welcomed. I joined Ngambika, the all-female community service step team, that celebrates afro-centric women and truly made some lifelong sisters. The diversity among the black community itself is beautiful. Not only has this community taught me a lot about other cultures, but I have been able to learn more about myself.

How have you grown or changed by being a part of Emory's diverse community?

Until I came to Emory, I was constantly told I'm not American enough because I'm Sudanese, or I'm not Sudanese because I've never lived there, or I'm not Arab because Arabic isn't my first language. The fusion of cultures that I have experienced here has molded me into the strong, confident person I am today. At Emory, I don't feel like I have to conform to one particular group. I've learned that I can be all of these things that make up my identity, allowing me to have a wider, more insightful perspective on life.

Kenny Igarza

Ethnically Cuban, raised in Italy, now from Naples, Florida
Biology major, pre-med track
Campus Involvement:
TEDxEmory, Haiti Neurosurgery Initiative, Tour Guide, Volunteer Emory, Undergraduate Research Programs, Undergraduate Research Journal, 1915 Scholars Program, STEM Pathways Orientation Program

How did you know (or did you know) that you would fit in at Emory?

I visited Emory through the CORE program during my senior year of high school. I knew then that Emory was ultimately my best fit school. Not only was I struck, truly, by the beauty of campus in the fall, but the students were smart, but also welcoming. CORE also exposed me to Emory's mission to create collaborative environments for students to interact and build communities. I appreciated learning that if I were to study for a Chemistry exam, I would be able to rely on my peers and classmates for help, rather than compete against them. My campus visit helped me see that this is a place where each other's differences are celebrated, where comradeship comes alive, and one where self-love and scholarship intertwine.

How have your multiple, intersecting identities been celebrated?

As a freshman I took a class taught by Dr. Simona Muratore, in the Italian department, where we studied the cultural and social importance of food in Italy. The class was for fluent Italian speakers, and I connected with five other students who had lived in or visited Italy. Dr. Simona helped us reconnect with and celebrate our Italian roots, and at the end of the semester, we cooked dinner for every Italian-speaking professor at Emory in the traditional setting that I remembered from childhood.

Last semester I also began to frequent Centro Latino, a center dedicated to students of Latin heritage. The many conversations and moments I've shared with other students at Centro have encouraged me to take pride in my Cuban background and appreciate the traditions of my Latin ethnicity. My experiences have helped me learn how to truly love myself and all of the layers of my personal identity in new ways.