About BSA

The Black Staff Association focuses on initiatives that are susceptible to empowering Black staff members at Florida International University. We are committed to educating the FIU Community about our history, culture, and experiences. We will challenge systemic racism within the institution and society at large. We support mentorship opportunities for Black staff and students to help them achieve their professional and personal goals. Our campus programming focuses on professional development, education, and solidarity. As an organization, we will continue to work collaboratively with other entities and take collective action on campus to address the needs of the Black community at Florida International University.

Mission

The FIU Black Staff Association shall foster an inclusive environment that promotes empowerment, professional development, and equity for Black staff professionals at Florida International University. We are dedicated to supporting Black FIU students by collaborating with Black-affiliated organizations on campus, to assist in being an additional voice for the Black student and providing mentorship during their academic careers. We are committed to supporting Black FIU staff by assisting in articulating concerns of the Black community and providing mentorship during their professional careers. We believe in unity as a catalyst for change that will impact our society.

Vision

We envision a professional network that will bring together people of black origin to create representation in multiple disciplines on campus, to collaborate, share experiences, and empower each other for impact. We seek to partner with university leaders on critical matters in the Black community that will adequately address inequities. We strive to invest in students through mentorship, opportunities, and key connections to foster success in their educational and career journey. We are focused on transformative conversations that will continue to disrupt systemic racism. We will operate with integrity, professionalism, and intentionality.

Our 2022 Focused Goals

  • Establish a cohesive professional network across Florida International University campuses to build morale in the Black community
  • Create leadership workshops that highlight expertise in various areas for professional development and opportunities for advancement, upward mobility, and career growth of Black staff and students
  • Participate in community outreach projects to maintain a presence in surrounding communities
  • Create a mentorship program to support the Black community at Florida International University
  • Engage with senior administration on critical matters as they pertain to members of the Black community at Florida International University

Leadership

Black Staff Association leadership. From left to right, Brittany Davis, Nahum Jean Louis and Melissa Castriota
From left to right: Melissa Castriota, Nahum Jean Louis, and Brittany Davis

Brittany Davis, Co-lead

Brittany Davis is the Program Manager for the Women’s Center in the Office of Social Justice and Inclusion at Florida International University. She is a graduate of Florida International University with a Master of Science in International Intercultural Education and graduate certificate in African and African Diaspora Studies. She is an advocate for gender equity, accessibility, and representation in higher education to support students’ transition and achievement. Ms. Davis presented at the CIES conference where her research project focused on gender equity in an international intercultural context. Also, she has co-presented at CUAA, FLACADA, and NACADA to share best practices in advising and student support services. She facilitates the First-Year Experience course for incoming freshman students at the university. Ms. Davis will be entering her third year of the Ph.D. in Higher Education at Florida International University in Fall 2022 with a research focus on institutional non-performativity in response to national racial incidences.

Nahum Jean Louis, Co-lead

Nahum Jean-Louis graduated from Florida International University, School of International and Public Affairs with a master's degree in Public Administration and, two master's certificates in Conflict Resolution and National Security. He also studied International Relations at FIU. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca-Raton, Florida. Currently, he is completing his doctorate in education at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). His research focuses on symbolic violence in school curricula.

As an educator, Mr. Jean-Louis has been teaching American Government and Comparative Politics for nearly 15 years at several Universities and Colleges in South Florida. Currently, he works at Florida International University as a faculty and a certified success coach. He is also the founder and CEO of Quintessence Learning, a private organization dedicated to building teachers’ capacity through effective training.

Melissa Castriota, Co-lead

Melissa Castriota currently serves as Director of Campus Operations for FIU at BBC. Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from FIU (’09), her master’s degree in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University (’14) and is currently completing coursework under the Doctoral program in Public Affairs at FIU. In addition to her role as Associate Director, she serves on several FIU university-wide committees including our Diversity Week Committee, our Commencement Committee, our Scholarship Committee, PAWS Wellness Committee and several of our Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committees including Health and Wellness, Marketing, and heads one of the DEI Attraction, Retention and Engagement sub-committees. Most recently, she has accompanied two other colleagues in co-leading FIU’s newly re-established Black Staff Association. Melissa is also a graduate of FIU’s Leadership Education Advancement Program (’19) and FIU’s Presidential Leadership Program (‘21) and has completed FIU’s Principles of Project Management program and FIU Center for Leadership’s Inclusive Leadership Workshop.

Committees

  • Leadership & Professional Development Committee

    Co-Lead Daniella Long, Program Manager Public Policy-Leadership & Professional Development

    • The committee will collaborate with various campus and community partners to provide professional development seminars for Black staff.
    • They will suggest campus resources on FIU Develop, LinkedIn Learning, Micro-credentials to further develop professional skills.
    • They will inform members about conferences or programs on campus that are being facilitated by the Black community.
  • Campus & Community Partnerships Committee

    Co-Lead Justin Childs, Admissions Recruiter

    • The committee will take the initiative in leading a professional network across various departments and programs on campus.
    • They will coordinate outreach projects to promote community building through service and engagement.
    • They will seek opportunities to engage with senior administration on critical matters in the Black community.
  • Social Engagement & Networking Committee

    Co-Lead Aliesha Daise, Career Advisor Career and Talent Development

    • The committee will organize social engagement and networking events for members of the Black Staff Affinity group.
    • They will maintain a calendar of events and post additional information on the main Black Staff Affinity Group Teams.
  • Mentorship Program

    Co-Lead Jennifer Williams, Program Coordinator Office of Social Justice and Inclusion

    • They will curate a mentorship program for the Black staff and student community.
    • The committee will partner with current mentorship opportunities for potential collaborations.
  • Marketing & Communication Committee

    Co-Lead Younna Gooden, Assistant Director Residence Life

    • The committee will create marketing materials to disseminate to the university community.
    • They will manage social platforms and channels to provide updated information about our events, programs, and/or workshops.
    • They will assist with public relations as it relates to correspondence for general body meetings.