She'd been sporting a short Afro, and then showed up in class one day with 500 shoulder length braids woven into her hair. For Eddy Luvaga, a native of Kenya, Africa, the dramatic change in hairstyle was nothing unusual. But for a classroom of Iowa State University freshman, many from small rural Iowa communities, the shift was totally unexpected. "For some students I may be the first person of color they've interacted with," says Luvaga. "In this case, I remember the students were silent and just stared." So she opened her class time with a discussion about black hair care, letting students ask the questions they had on their minds. It was a practical and teachable moment-the kind that Luvaga employs regularly in her economic development class and as an adviser in the economics department. "I want students to feel comfortable asking me about my differences."
STORIES in Agriculture and Life Sciences: Vol. 5
, Article 6.
Available at: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/stories/vol5/iss4/6