Take a moment to get to know LaShatá Grayson, Assistant Director of Involvement – Missouri State University
Tell us about yourself. As a native of Gary, Indiana, from a family of eight, my mother always expressed the importance of going above and beyond to receive a good education. I went above and beyond to always push myself to be a lifelong learner. Her words is what made me start my journey in education as an elementary special education teacher. 2 years later, I found myself on a soul-searching journey, trying to figure out what was best for me and my future because I wanted to do more. I decided to embark on the Higher Education journey. I begin to fall in love with the theories, research, and art of coaching and advising students in Fraternity and Sorority Life in my former Graduate Assistant at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. In my mind, I love the art of “not coaching my students to be who they are now but who they should be some day”.
I carried this philosophy with me with job searching and saw a posting for Missouri State University that I kept coming back to. It was something about the position that was the perfect fit for me. A wide range of experiences, from conduct, to supervision, programming, risk management, and advising. After seeing the position and then the public affairs values of Missouri State, my heart was filled. I fell in love with the values of Missouri state. Ethical leadership and Cultural Competence are the two that resonated so well with me and made me truly wanted to be apart of the Bear Family.
When I am not working or volunteering within the industry, I truly enjoy doing CrossFit workouts, enjoys reading, socializing with family and friends, and listening to good old school R&B music.
You are the new assistant director of Student Engagement, Involvement. What does that involve? Serving as the Assistant Director of Student involves me primarily providing oversight to the entire Fraternity and Sorority life (FSL) community. I serve as the primary advisor for the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Panhellenic Association, oversee programming planning and development, and a amazing FSL team of scholars. I am excited to develop, grow, and pour into the FSL community. The Fraternity and Sorority Life community means a lot to me as I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and have served in my organization on a state and regional level on social action awareness and initiatives.
In a pandemic world, how will you work to engage students safely for in-person events and for online events still giving them co-curricular activities that enhance their college experience? Providing students with safety is my first priority and responsibility to all the parents who drop their students off to Missouri State. FSL will be conducting some programs and meeting in-person, while moving other to virtual and/or hybrid format. We have also encouraged all council officers to implement virtual meetings for them and their delegation. FSL Chapters are currently encouraged to conduct their large chapter meetings virtually and can host small executive board and committee meetings while adhering to University, state and local guidelines FSL chapters are still having some in person and virtual programming outlets for students to still engage and connect with them on a personal level.
Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved on campus? It is important for students to get involved because it is enhancing their student experience. I want you to leave with a job offer but always with additional family members that you never thought you would have had. Being involved keeps students invested into to the Missouri State Bear Pride. A lot of students find their home outside of a home when they become involved on campus.
What are your goals for your first six months at Missouri State? Within the first six months, I want to develop relationships with campus partners and provide FSL leaders with more resources to utilize on campus. As a huge advocate for inclusion and an architect of experiential learning, I would like to enhance the fraternal experience by increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts around fraternity and sorority life, providing a support system for members in fraternity and sorority life, and create educational programs and trainings centered around membership development, recruitment, and retention.
What is the name of the last book you read, and would you recommend it? Yes or No and why? The last book that I read honestly was, “Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life” by Sarah Jake Roberts. I would recommend this book to read especially if you are trying to find hope within all that is happening in the world. This book provided good self-reflection for me on my journey being a Gary Native until now and made me appreciate the small things in life.