Anatomy of an Administrator: Erica Acosta; expanding diversity from classroom to service

Toni Pennello, Staff Writer

Erica Acosta is the Associate Director for Diversity Initiatives at Wilkes. Her job, by her own definition, is “to create programming, not only for students but for faculty and staff, on diversity and inclusion, multiculturalism, and awareness of other cultures.”

 

She is also an advisor for the study abroad program.

“I help students create that global experience – to make it more obtainable, and make the process a lot easier for students to study abroad,” she said.

 

Studying abroad has many different benefits from person to person, according to Acosta, but she feels that it is a great way for students to learn a new language, become more culturally aware, and see the different traditions in other countries. She believes studying abroad gives one  “that experience of knowing who you are as an individual, not only in the states, but outside the states in other places.”

 

Acosta is originally from Brooklyn, New York, but has strong ties to her Dominican background. She frequently visits the Dominican Republic to do community service.

“I’m excited that Wilkes has an alternative spring break, conveniently, to the Dominican Republic. I get to go back and help my community. I also encourage students to come with me and see the culture, and also the education system in the Dominican Republic. I get a little bit of both worlds,” she explained.

 

Acosta received her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from SUNY Buffalo, and her Master’s in Organizational Management from Misericordia University. She has been in the field of Diversity and Inclusion for six years.

 

She is very proud of how far she has come at such a young age. “I didn’t think I would make it this far so quickly in life, I’m hitting 30 soon. I like my job, I like where I’m at, I like that I work with such a supportive group of people. I think that’s one of my biggest accomplishments – being able to get the degrees I have with the support of family and friends. It’s a big accomplishment, especially growing up in Brooklyn,” she said.

 

As far as Women’s History Month goes, Erica Acosta has a strong opinion. “I like that we have a month, but I feel like we should be valued more than a month. I feel like, without women you can’t make the world go around… with that said, I like it because we need to value each other a little bit more, and applaud each other in our accomplishments along the way. It should be Women’s month all year round, but the fact that we get recognized for a month is a step going forward.”