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Meet the New Director of Belonging

A Q and A with Nikki Davis
The+new+Director+of+Belonging%2C+Ms.+Nikki+Davis%2C+works+in+her+office.+Davis+said+she+is+already+feeling+at+home+at+St.+Marys+and+loving+Sages+macaroni+and+cheese.
Mary Elizabeth Autry
The new Director of Belonging, Ms. Nikki Davis, works in her office. Davis said she is already feeling at home at St. Mary’s and loving Sage’s macaroni and cheese.

Have you lived in the Memphis area your whole life?

Yes, I was born in Memphis. So I’ve lived here all my life, except for when I went away to college. At the University of Kansas in Kansas. Yeah, it was fine. And then I came back [to Memphis].

 

When you went to the University of Kansas, what did you study there?

I studied psychology. Psychology was my major with a minor in African-American Studies, but I love math. So it was just I was so interested in a lot of things. Originally I was a pre-med major, but then I fell in love with psychology, and so I switched my major. 

 

What exactly do you do as director of belonging? What does your job entail?

It entails quite a bit mainly because I’m working with early childhood all the way to to seniors, and again, even branching out further to family, so parents, faculty and staff. So my goal this year is to really focus on programming for the early childhood all the way through 12th-grade students with different speakers and different activities. I also push into some classes sometimes to incorporate belonging into different lessons. And so mainly just being visible across campus and just supporting the girls, the faculty and staff and supporting the families in any way that I can. And mainly, again, just because this is already such a strong community, just making sure that people that are already here and people that may decide to come here feel like they belong.

 

Do you have any advice for St. Mary’s community about how to make people feel like they belong?

Yeah. I would say just being open-minded, actually seeing people for who they are, and recognizing that they can contribute just as much as you can contribute to the space to the environment that you’re in at that moment. Also recognizing the strengths of others, as well as your own. So when you recognize, first and foremost, your own strengths and what you can contribute, and then you get an opportunity, you open your eyes and you see that others [contribute], even though it may be a different way. Their contribution is just as important.

 

What does working towards belonging and equity mean to you?

So to me, that means helping in a school setting. Helping students, faculty and families just feel like they’re a part of the community. But also, bringing more awareness to things that will help people feel like they belong, so my students, families and faculty don’t feel so much pressure trying to figure out what they need to do to feel like they belong. So really, I feel like my role is to continue to make those connections between different types of people, like different races, socio-economic statuses, religions. There’s so many ways you can look at it, but understanding that we’re all one one big community.

 

What is your favorite thing about St. Mary’s community so far?

Just the family atmosphere. I’m really close to my family. I’m all about family. All through school, this was the type of environment that I was in, a family-type environment. And so it’s definitely a blessing to be able to work in an environment like that as an adult. That’s really what stood out. And then it made it even better once I was here and with all of the girls and I was like, Yeah, this is what I’m supposed to be.

 

What has been your favorite St. Mary’s school lunch so far?

Man, I don’t know. Every time I think I have a favorite one, then they hit me with another. Yesterday, we had fried chicken and macaroni. Yeah, that was like speaking my language. That was really good. So I don’t have a favorite so far, but I will say I’m quite impressed. 

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About the Contributors
Wallis Rogin, Co Editor-in-Chief
Wallis Rogin is a junior who is excited to be spending her third year on Tatler as co Editor-in-chief. You may know Wallis as a quiet person, but once you get to know her you will find that she is a super fun person to be around. She’s always wanted a pet turtle, and once even had one for 12 hours before it disappeared. She is also a bold person and she shows her boldness by mixing her jewelry metals. She likes peanuts, but dislikes peanut butter and hates wooden utensils even more. She understands that wooden utensils are better for the environment, but just can't get behind them. Because of this, whenever she goes to Ben and Jerry’s, she always gets a cone instead of a cup because the Ben and Jerry’s spoons are wooden. She loves their Phish Food ice cream and would love it even more with a plastic spoon. One final fact about Wallis is that she loves New Girl and is still upset that it was taken off Netflix. 
Sophomore Charlotte Hernandez is passionate about speaking for what she holds dear to her heart. She may seem sweet and quiet at first look, but Charlotte dominates in Youth in Government and on St. Mary’s Mock Trial team. Charlotte is a former member of Tatler’s podcast staff, and this is her first year being a reporter. She is excited to write articles on social issues that she is passionate about as she cares about the rights of LGTBQ+ community, which isn’t surprising given her strong voice in the courtroom. Charlotte is a theater kid, but she is more than an expressive and outspoken person; she is caring as she aspires to be a psychologist because she wants to help people with their mental health.
Mary Elizabeth Autry, Photographer
Mary Elizabeth is a freshman starting her first year on Tatler as a photographer. She has always been interested in photography and is excited to share her photos with others through Tatler. Mary Elizabeth has been a ballet dancer for around five years. When she is not in the studio or taking photos you can find her playing with her two dogs, Jengo and Romy, baking, running, reading or watching her favorite TV shows. Right now, she is a big fan of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” (a big fan of the books too), but she cannot wait for the new season of “Stranger Things” to come out. Although it is not Mary Elizabeth’s first year at St. Mary’s, she is excited to experience all the traditions that high school has to offer. Specifically, she cannot wait for her first Derby Day. Mary Elizabeth cannot wait for her first year on Tatler and her first year as a high schooler!

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