Merrimack Graduate Student Hopes To Help More Students of Color Study Abroad

A'mari Bing-Way M’24 got her bachelor’s degree in Paris. Once she completes her master’s at Merrimack College, she’ll work to give other people of color the same opportunities she had.
Headshot of A'mari Bing-Way M’24 next to the Merrimack College logo.
A'mari Bing-Way M’24 received her Bing-Way bachelor's degree from The American University of Paris before enrolling at Merrimack for her master's.

One day, A’mari Bing-Way M’24 hopes to establish a nonprofit or foundation to help students of color pursue higher education abroad, just as she did for her undergraduate degree. She believes Merrimack College’s community engagement graduate program gives her the tools to make that dream a reality,

“At least from what I found, there’s very limited financial support for that decision” to study abroad, she explained. “I also want to help families support students and give them financial support when they want to travel to see their (loved ones).”

Originally from Maryland, Bing-Way graduated from The American University of Paris in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in global communication with minors in gender studies and socio-cultural anthropology. At Merrimack, she’s been taking courses on fundraising, nonprofit management and diversity, equity and social justice in community engagement.

“We’re learning how communities are structured and what a nonprofit’s role is in building communities,” she said.

Bing-Way said despite almost sounding like a cliche slogan in this day and age, diversity does matter especially in higher education. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Bing-Way founded AUP’s Black and Abroad Club.

“That was a lot of work and I’m happy that it’s still continuing into something even more than what I ever expected,” she said. “There are students I met after graduating who said they decided to come to the college because they saw there is a club for black students. Just seeing the representation and knowing that there’s a community for you makes a very big difference.”

Bing-Way sought to enrich a similar community while studying at Merrimack. Peter Rojas, assistant dean of intercultural initiatives, recommended she preside over the Graduate Students of Color Association. As president, Bing-Way collaborated on community building and professional development events alongside Merrimack organizations such as Merrimack Professionals of Color and the Unity House.

“I’ve been in situations where the environment is very much predominantly white,” she said. “It just irritates me when students of color or anybody belonging to marginalized communities can’t have their space while also voicing their perspectives to the wider community.”

In addition to her studies and extracurricular activities, Bing-Way serves as the community engagement fellow at McQuade Library.

“The goal is to make sure the Merrimack College community knows that the library plays a role in DEI on campus (and to) make sure they include the library when building up these initiatives,” she said. “Everyone comes to the library, so why not place the library at the forefront of DEI?”

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