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Meet The DEI: Mark Tasker

Profiling the Mosaic Center's Diversity Educator Interns

 Mark is a junior studying Sociology. 

“I couldn’t tell you the meaning of existence. It’s different for everyone I suppose. I can tell you this though. The happiest moments of my life have occurred in a room full of difference, of unknown beginnings and uncertain ends. I’ve never been happier than when I’m meeting someone new. I’m an explorer, you could say, but I explore the landscape of human experience. Every conversation is a new expedition, a new chance to discover the unknown. That is what Diversity means to me. It’s the fuel of my spiritual economy.”

*The Diversity Educator Interns are undergraduate and graduate students who  co-facilitate cross-cultural and diversity awareness discussions and educational workshops across campus.

Q. What made you get involved with The Mosaic Center as a Diversity Educator Intern?

A. I found an advertisement for UMBC Talks, and after attending one I saw the smokin' cool "Meet the DEIs" board in the Mosaic Center. So I inquired about what exactly a DEI was, and I thought it'd be cool to learn about diversity education.

Q. What's your favorite moment as a DEI so far?

A. We were doing a presentation about cross-cultural communication, and within five minutes of being there this guy, this top-dog, let the entire class know that he "did work" with women. It was very funny.

Q. What has surprised you most about working in a Center for Culture and Diversity?

A. I was really surprised by how much the position has broadened my ability to think outside the box.

Q. Do you find anything challenging about being a DEI? If so, explain.

A. There haven't really been too many difficulties thus far although I'd like to increase the number of different workshops we have to offer.

Q. What might someone be surprised to know about you?

A. Well, I'm secretly a legendary Go-Kart Racer. Also, once upon a time my goal in life was to be a Loli-Pop kid from The Wizard of Oz. One Halloween I dressed up as one of those happy midgets, and I basically chugged helium so that I could keep the voice all night.

Q. What's it like to be a Diversity Educator Intern for The Mosaic Center?

A. Imagine that your mind is a treasure chest with a lock on it, but inside that chest there are a thousand little miniature boxes with locks on them too. Inside every box is a gem, an idea waiting to be discovered. The cool thing about being a DEI is that you get the key to open the big chest, and if you're lucky you can pop open a couple of those mini-boxes too.

Q. When you aren’t performing DEI duties, what are you most likely doing?

A. I like stories. Whether they're written, spoken, or in some cinematic form, I spend most of my free time seeking out cool stories. I really enjoy meeting new people too, so I spend a lot of time just walking around and looking for interesting people to start up conversations with.

Q. How would (someone) describe you?

A. How many words can they use to describe me? Most people would probably label me as sarcastic with a melodic voice. (Melodic is such a cool word) I try to base my actions off of the people I'm surrounded by at the time, so I adapt myself to whoever I'm with.

Q. What do you wish other people knew about The Mosaic Center?

A. I wish they knew about all the cool events that The Mosaic Center co-hosts and sponsors, such as UMBC Talks.

Q. What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about diversity?

A. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, it exists. If you want to make friends, form bonds, and maybe seek out future family members, you have to know how to relate to people. So how do you relate to people? You can't do it by assuming that everyone thinks like you do on every issue. You have to be prepared to discuss things, to change your mind, to learn about new ways of living. Basically, you have to be willing to open your "treasure chest" of a mind and let things in.

Q. What's your personal philosophy on what should be done about promoting communal diversity and inclusion?

A. Step 1: Relax. If someone says or does something that offends you, you have to realize that more often than not it's not on purpose. People don't often go out of their way to annoy people they don't even know. I know it seems that way sometimes, but people are generally good. The moment you're angry, the moment you write them off, is the moment you lose. You could've just lost a lifelong friend or a true love--whatever that is.

Step 2: Listen. Before you voice your opinion, see what someone else has to say. Maybe you disagree with them completely, but the first step to understanding something is to acknowledge that it's worth your time. You do that by listening.

Step 3: Don't try to "fix" stuff. You can't solve difference. It's not something that can be overcome. It's something to be appreciated and welcomed. New ideas always make the end result better.

Want to know more? Contact mosaic@umbc.edu - to request a workshop for your group or org complete a workshop request form! http://my.umbc.edu/groups/themosaic (form must be submitted at least two weeks in advance)

Posted: October 11, 2012, 1:31 PM