In The Light: Makina Perry

Zoe Gordon

Makina came to Colgate as a city girl with lofty and specific aspirations. The Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS) helped acclimate Makina to Hamilton, making her transition from Harlem much easier than anticipated. In her first year, Makina was sure she wanted to major in physics on a pre-engineering track. She was going to become a biomedical engineer and “create prosthetics that would change the industry.” Makina soon realized, however, that taking two sciences in her first year was too much.

Choosing to major in Art and Art History with a focus on architecture was a seemingly drastic turn, but Makina insists that the two majors are the same vein. She found that in switching majors, she was able to pursue her “creative passions…and things important to me and integral to my culture.”

Makina admits that early on she did not get involved in extracurriculars due to academic stress, but after switching majors she became active in many clubs and organizations. Today her roster is full of activities including Student Government Association (SGA) Liaison, Sister-to-Sister co-founder (an organization with a focus on African American women and health issues including HIV and AIDS) African American Student Alliance, WeFunk, Sojourners gospel choir and three dance groups.

While the list is lengthy, there are no ulterior motives; it is clear that Makina simply enjoys staying busy and helping others. “I have been doing service since I was nine,” Makina beamed. “I’ve met a lot of friends I wouldn’t have met alone in my room studying physics.”

According to Makina, her greatest college achievement came when she was awarded a George Kobb fellowship during her junior year. The fellowship annually recognizes between ten and twenty students who “demonstrate qualities of outstanding leadership and influence among their fellow students.” Makina was never interested in spotlight or recognition and had no idea that anyone was watching as she tended to her various commitments. “I did not think people were paying attention while I was doing all this stuff,” Makina said, “but they were. And it was very rewarding to know that.”

Makina urges students to get involved in everything, go abroad, speak up, approach people, ask questions, and venture out because “it will never hurt.” If you want to start a group, she added, “talk to me.” More time with Makina would be worth the effort.