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.
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.
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
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.