The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Nai’ya Willis-Hogan

Photo contributed by Nai’ya Willis-Hogan.

Nai’ya Willis-Hogan ’20 is a theatre and dance major with a peace and conflict studies concentration. While these two academic areas may seem incongruous, they make all the sense in the world to her.

Willis-Hogan wants to combine performance art, activism and community organizing in order to change the world. Her two areas of study at Grinnell are how she felt she could best explore the intersection between the three.

“Peace and conflict studies and theatre together have given me the soft skills of networking, communication, teamwork, confidence when speaking in public and really finding my own voice,” she said.

Willis-Hogan has been inspired by her experiences and those around her, and she hopes to do the same for others. Ultimately, she wants to “share the knowledge that I have with whomever is willing to listen and wanting to grow in the world,” she said.

During her time at Grinnell, Willis-Hogan has had a variety of impressive internships and MAPs. She interned at Bond Street Theatre, KIPP DC (a network of public charter schools) and WOW Cafe Theater. This past semester, she served as the set designer for the student-led production of the play “Machinal” by Sophie Treadwell.

Outside of academic life, Willis-Hogan has been involved in a wide variety of activities and organizations during her time at the College. She worked as a crew member in a variety of productions, was a cabinet member of Concerned Black Students, served as a Community Advisor (CA) and was an active member of the Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) organization. Willis-Hogan is also a founding member of a budding QTPOC performance and artmaking collective.

After a lengthy list of academic and extracurricular accomplishments, Willis-Hogan is planning on taking time post-grad to center herself and discover passions outside of academia. Being a Gemini sun, Aries moon and Virgo rising, Willis-Hogan will always be a true character. She is not totally sure where she will end up. In the future, she can see herself working as a community organizer, a sexual educator or even an actress.

Willis-Hogan will cherish the friends she made throughout college and the unique events that happened on campus. The Grinnellian – the annual year-end concert featuring student musicians – is something that she will always hold close to her heart.

“The Grinnellian was always an event that I believe brought the community together for one day of good vibes all around,” she said.

But, most of all, Willis-Hogan will miss the people who have showed her “loyalty, honesty and support.”

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