From providing advice and a safe haven to first generation college students to salsa dancing on Friday nights, Genesis Steele approaches everything she does with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose. Genesis joins the Gephardt Institute as Coordinator for Civic Engagement Programs, providing programmatic and administrative support to the Assistant Director for Civic Engagement Education with a focus on the Civic Scholars and Goldman Fellows programs.
Genesis arrives at the institute with a robust background in higher education and nonprofit work. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. in Communication and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership & Policy Studies with a specialization in Higher Education. Her experiences have included program coordination, management, academic advising/counseling, program facilitation, and work within education and social equity/civil rights-focused nonprofits. Drawn to the position of Coordinator for Civic Engagement Programs as an opportunity to bring aspects of her previous experiences together, Genesis works to integrate her various interests in a way that benefits students and the broader WashU community.
Genesis’ passion for her role is evident in the smile and kind words that she has for everyone she encounters. She emphasized the importance of being in a professional environment where people are interested in making an impact in their communities. “I feed off of the energy, insight, and ideas from the great team at the Gephardt Institute,” she says.
Although originally from the greater Seattle area, Genesis has come to call St. Louis home. “What does it mean to be immersed in a community you haven’t grown up in but are now a part of?” she mused. Genesis notes the great privilege of learning about a community and its history by talking to residents and exploring the city. She is quick to point out, however, the responsibility to give back and invest in the community. “Be conscious,” she advises new St. Louis residents, “that you never want to just take from a place. You want to help replenish in some way and make it a better place for others.” This is what she calls the “golden rule of living in St. Louis.” She encourages students and new residents of the city to seek ways to be involved in St. Louis, saying, “The more you engage, the more you learn, not just about yourself but about the people around you.”
In her free time, Genesis enjoys traveling and spending time with her family in Seattle. She is always looking for fun ways to stay active, practicing volleyball, mixed martial arts, salsa dancing, tennis, and more. “There’s no sport I can’t play,” she laughs. “I enjoy them all!” She is also a lifelong learner with a particular interest in languages and photography. Her go-to movie genre is action and suspense, with The Godfather topping her list of favorites.
As a first generation college student, Genesis was drawn to higher education because she wanted to help others along their paths. “Institutions have systems and if you don’t know who to talk to, it can be really difficult,” she says. She emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships and asking questions. For students attempting to navigate higher education, Genesis can be a resource and a support. “My door is always open, and I’m excited to share as much as I know. If I don’t know the answer, I’m happy to find it out.”
Connect with Genesis at firstname.lastname@example.org.