Anything but typical

Social justice and diversity educator kept students laughing and interacting

When people think about going to a diversity speaker, most think it’s going to be more educational and less entertaining. However, there are some that are anything but your typical diversity presenter.

Jessica Pettitt, a nominated best diversity artist, came to Ferris to speak to students about politics, theory, current events and even personal stories. Throughout her entire presentation, the audience of close to 200 people were kept laughing and interacting.

“It is not my goal to make anyone feel guilty, cry or anything like that. My job is to make you think; even though I’m super funny, tomorrow you won’t remember my name,” Pettitt said. “I’m here to help you figure out how you show up in the world and give you some concrete stuff about working with what you’ve got.”

During Pettitt’s presentation, she allowed students to text message any question to her as they came up during the show. Many students enjoyed this feature, as over 50 questions were sent within minutes.

Melissa Shparago, Ferris junior in applied speech communication, enjoyed that Pettitt’s honesty about situations and ideas.

“I really liked it; she was really funny and very entertaining. She made it easy for us to relate to because she was so real about things,” Shparago said. “I’m really glad I came, she taught me a lot in the short presentation she gave.”

During Pettitt’s presentation, she challenged students into changing their outlooks. She expressed the importance of working with what you were given.

“We look up to these famous people who have made a difference, and have made ourselves feel like we can’t do what they did,” Pettitt said. “If we restore these people back to what they are, we can start finding similarities, and we start to understand that we can do what they did.”

Kara Postema, Ferris sophomore in diagnostic medical sonography, thought her speech was extremely impactful.

“I really liked her outlook on life. I am starting to realize who I am and what I want to do, and she helped me be able to do that by telling us her story,” Postema said.