Mentor Spotlight: Nikita Haynie
Nikita Haynie is a Career Advisor Senior at the KU School of Business. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in African American Studies from Clayton State University and later a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University. Haynie is now pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Connect with Michael on KU Mentoring+.
What do you do at your job?
Currently I serve as a Career Advisor Senior in Business Career Services in KU School of Business where I engage in career and leadership development and for students. In this role, I oversee a mentoring program connecting alumni and current business school students at all ages and stages of their careers in a formal professional mentor/mentee relationship. Through the management of this program, I assist students in connecting with experienced mentors in their field of interest, structured mentorship engagement activities, and increased insight to achieve professional goals. I mentor student leaders within an affinity-based student organization for Black female students she assisted in co-creating to create a brave space and programs centering on the Black female student experience at a predominantly white institution. I am a Higher Education Practitioner with over ten years of progressive experience. I have addressed developmental needs and concerns throughout my professional career, fostered safe and inclusive spaces, enhanced support systems, and created access opportunities. In each of my professional opportunities, I have masterfully supported students in their developmental journey by creating a mode of self-discovery and providing a safe, inclusive campus community experience.
As an undergraduate student at Clayton State University, I was heavily involved in a multitude of student leadership organizations serving as the President and Events Coordinator for Campus Events Council, Resident Assistant for Student Housing, Gamma Phi Beta, Programming Chair for her sorority, and Student Assistant for the Department of Campus Life. Through campus involvement I discovered my fervor for educating and empowering students while matriculating through their undergraduate experience in connecting key piece to ultimately, they can live purposeful lives.
Who is a mentor for you, and how did they help you?
I am blessed to have a circle of Black women mentors who have assisted me along my journey; I want to highlight Danielle Brooks, the current Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Danielle has been a pillar of support, guidance, and sisterhood for me throughout my formative years. I met her while I was in graduate school during my job search; from the moment we connected, she has always provided raw, transparent, and valuable insight to help me grow personally and professionally. Danielle helped me believe further in my talents and gifts as a Black woman, pursue my goals and dreams ferociously, and always know I am worthy.
What advice do you have for current college students or young alumni?
My advice for current college students and young alumni is to take the pressure off yourself; life is a journey, not a marathon; trust yourself; no one knows you better than you know yourself. Reinvent yourself as many times as you need to curate the life you desire.
Favorite KU Memory?
Receiving the 2020 Dr. Neeli Bendapudi Community Advocacy and Activism Award for the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). An award that honors active participants, advocates for social justice, and makes the campus culture and the larger community a more justice-oriented and equitable space for humans on the margins. Historically, students matriculating at predominantly white institutions can’t have the same experiences as their peers due to systematic barriers to know I am making an impact to create equitable space and support for current and future undergraduate students brings me joy.