Davares Robinson knows from experience that the academic journey can be full of twists and turns. He came to UC Davis to pursue a pre-med curriculum and become an anesthesiologist, but today he is keenly focused on educational justice and equity.
He will graduate this spring as a political science-public service major and wants to influence higher education policy and bolster student retention for marginalized communities.
“Some students spend their entire time struggling to get by in a system not designed for their success,” he said. “I want them all to thrive, not barely survive. And access to help and resources — it can mean the difference between somebody graduating or not.”
Robinson also found he could help others while helping himself. He says part of his college experience involved coming to terms with what it means to be a black LGBTQ+ undergraduate within the UC system.
As a summer research fellow in the Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services, he presented his research findings on black, gay and queer undergraduate student retention to hundreds of higher education administrators. He has continued this work as part of UC Davis' National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Undergraduate Fellows Program.
Robinson’s natural talent for facilitating discussion, especially on challenging issues, led him to work at the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center, where he is a campus climate and community outreach coordinator. He also co-founded the Center’s Coalition on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or CODE, a program for upstanding students interested in leadership and combatting harassment.
“Breaking down barriers to understanding is essential for identity work and healing. In fact, it is restorative,” Robinson said.
This fall, he will pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs at the University of San Francisco while serving as the graduate assistant to their Black Resource Center.