De’Shawna Yamini is a former Sinclair graduate and one of the coordinators of the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) on campus. Down in the basement of Building 8 De’Shawna works tirelessly to support African American men working their way through Sinclair.
“She is the backbone of this program.” Said Daniel Peoples III, president of AAMI.
Yamini began working with Sinclair eight years ago but has been working with the AAMI since its inception.
“The program began five years ago after Sinclair conducted a study,” said Yamini “Sinclair realized that a disproportion amount of African American men weren’t graduating. The African American Male Initiative was created in order to support African American Male students and help them work towards their goals.”
In its five-year tenure, the program has made great strides in helping African Males graduate.
“Since the programs start, graduation rates of African American men has gone up 268%.” Yamini said she know what it’s like to struggle to finish Sinclair. During her time in school, she had to work full time and only took two courses per quarter, as the college was on a quarter system back then.
“I regret it,” admitted Yamini, saying she wished she’d taken more classes and moved at a faster pace. She says that she’s happy now though because she has the chance to help others move forward. “It’s my job to make sure our students graduate successfully and on time.”
After graduating from Sinclair with a degree in computer information systems, Yamini went on to Wilberforce University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in global management and communication. Recently, she earned her master’s in business administration from Franklin University.
In her spare time, Yamini enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and generally learning about new things.
“I love to learn,” she said.
When asked about her current projects Yamini said that she was currently taking Biology classes on campus. She’d noticed several students talking about the difficulty of the classes and wanted to understand how to better help them.
When asked if there was anything that she wanted readers to know Yamini had this to say, “Education is powerful! When you change your mind, you can change your life!”
The AAMI is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., they also hold weekly meetings on Fridays.