Shené V. Owens
Associate Director, Center for Student Diversity
Who am I?
Shené is a student, educator, and mentor. She currently serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Student Diversity at William & Mary; providing academic, social, and transition support for undergraduate and graduate students from underserved and/or underrepresented populations. In her role, Shené plans the programming for the center, advises the diversity-focused student organizations, while supporting the students who visit the center. Shené is originally from Teaneck, New Jersey. When she’s not at William & Mary, Shené is extremely active in her communities both in Virginia and the Tri-State area (NY/NJ), serving as a mentor to teens and young adults, leading self-care and/or self-esteem workshops, participating in community service efforts, and raising awareness to various causes. She lives by the West African term “Sankofa”, which teaches us that we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Shené is a PROUD member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. following the footsteps of her grandmother, Alonzetta C. Burns. She holds both a B.A. in English Arts and M.A. in Counseling (College Student Development) from Hampton University.
“I dare you to believe in yourself… You’re AMAZING!” – S.V.Owens
Why Diversity Work?
I entered into Diversity work in 2015 after the police shootings resulting in the death of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott. I was new to a Predominately White Institution and Students of Color needed support processing their emotions with these deaths. This was not part of my “job description” but I’ve made it my life’s work to support students in need; regardless of my title.
What do you do for the Center for Student Diversity?
My primary role at the Center for Student Diversity is to coordinate the PLUS Pre-orientation program (Preparing for Life as a University Student). I also plan the annual signature programs: Pre-Kwanzaa, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration, and Stepping into Excellence Black Expo along with other workshops, trainings, and initiates in the center and around campus.
Why William & Mary?
William & Mary presented me with my dream job. I was meant for this position at this point in life. The opportunity to work at a prestigious university and supporting/advocating for underrepresented populations of students
Guacamole and tacos