Mary Yeboah2019 Rising Alumni

Mary Yeboah

Mary Yeboah is the Assistant Director of Graduate Student Life at Wheaton College in Illinois. She was nominated by Christopher Johnstone, who Mary describes as her most influential professor. Mary says one of the most meaningful benefits of her Leadership for Intercultural and International Education doctorate program was the transformation of her understanding of race and racism in schools and societies. Her research focused on segregation of teachers in Chicago Public Schools and the racism they faced in their work. She drew on her CEHD experience when she launched the first multicultural graduate student life component of the Graduate Student Life Office at Wheaton. In her role, Mary’s primary responsibility is to ensure graduate students are provided with the support they need to be successful. She says she gets excited about the opportunity to help create a school culture where every aspect of that culture supports a sense of belonging for each person.

Current Job

Assistant Director of Graduate Student Life, Wheaton College

CEHD Degree

PhD, Leadership for International and Intercultural Education, 2018

Please list any professional accomplishments you wish to mention.

Started the Multicultural Graduate Student Life component of the Graduate Student Life Office at Wheaton College. Transitioned from International Graduate Student Coordinator to Assistant Director of Graduate Student Life to Associate Dean of Graduate Student Life (starting July 1) over three years.

Volunteer actvities

I have been a member of the School District 200-Citizens Advisory Council since 2018, and volunteered at the EDEN Community Library—Accra from 2011 to 2016, the Save our Lives Orphanage—Kumasi from 2010 to 2011, the Evangelical Child and Family Services—Wheaton from 2005 to 2006, and at By the Hand Club for Kids Tutoring—Chicago from 2000-2004.

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

My favorite memories from the University of Minnesota were class discussions with my cohort, Leadership for Intercultural and International Education 2014. Within the hybrid, cohort model, we took intense, on-campus courses each summer for three years and online courses during the fall and spring semesters. Each summer we convened from all over the world to live and learn together on campus. We then carried over the connections we had made during our face-to-face classroom time into the online learning space where engagement was enriched by our knowledge of one another. The discussions on campus and online were honest, engaging, and insightful. It's an honor to work alongside such intelligent, thoughtful, kind-hearted people.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in CEHD?

Chris Johnstone was my most influential professor. He is brilliant and humble. He sees the humanity in students and honors their contribution to the world and to academia. One of my favorite memories with him was when he came to Accra with a team of U of M staff/faculty and we went to the El Mina Slave Castle in Cape Coast.

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

Chris Johnstone was my most influential professor. He is brilliant and humble. He sees the humanity in students and honors their contribution to the world and to academia. One of my favorite memories with him was when he came to Accra with a team of U of M staff/faculty and we went to the El Mina Slave Castle in Cape Coast.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

I have been most inspired by my late colleague, Rodney Sisco. Rodney served as the Director of the Office of Multicultural Development at Wheaton College until he passed following a five-month battle with cancer. Rodney was a consistent presence on campus for over 30 years, creating a strong legacy of support for students of color. He tarried a long and strenuous journey of challenging racist structures in a predominantly white institution. His leadership was quiet and fierce, like a lion. He has inspired me to work diligently and courageously for the advancement of others with the same courage and joy that sustained him in the longevity of the work.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

The most important skills to succeed as an emerging professional today are creativity, courage, and care. The future of the workplace requires that professionals know how to access and synthesize the information they need to solve problems and create change. They should embrace a fluid concept of work to respond creatively to the changing nature of the workplace. Emerging professionals should develop the courage required in understanding and strengthening their inner lives so that when faced with opportunities to compromise values, they will demonstrate integrity and remain true to who they are. In doing so, emerging professionals free themselves to embrace the life-giving nature of work and encourage others to do likewise. Finally, care is a required skill for emerging professionals today within the context of increasing technological advancements and globalization to foster mindful presence and caring relationships, to preserve a connection to the earth, and to uphold the dignity of all people.

What gets you excited about work?

I get excited about the opportunity to help create a school culture where every aspect of that culture supports a sense of belonging for each person whereby their unique gifts and identities are an integral contribution to the whole.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

Read, bike, or draw.

How do others describe you?

I've been told I'm an eight on the Enneagram. People seem to think I am willing to speak the truth, pursue peace, challenge systems, listen to others, set a vision, and inspire the community to follow.

How do you describe yourself?

I describe myself as a genuine person with a vision for a more healthy humanity and a drive to create institutional and societal change to help get us there.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

Fannie Lou Hamer—American voting and women's rights activist, community organizer, and a leader in the civil rights movement.

What gets you excited about work?

I get excited about the opportunity to help create a school culture where every aspect of that culture supports a sense of belonging for each person whereby their unique gifts and identities are an integral contribution to the whole.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher.

What is a "fun fact" about you?

I have four children, Trinity, Whitney, Kingsley, and Kingsford.