Doriana Gabrielle Diaz graduated from DVFS in 2016 and she is currently a student at Temple University, where she is majoring in Women’s Studies with a minor in Spanish. Doriana has continued her commitment to diversity and social justice work that she began at DVFS. She is the co-founder of a women’s collective that serves women of color on the Temple University campus with a focus on holistic wellness and self-care. Doriana has also started her own clothing line that caters to women of color called rye, which stands for remind yourself everyday. Rye is a brand of apparel created to help remind women of their undying excellence by combining poetry and daily affirmations. Learn more about rye and Doriana’s work to create safe spaces for women of color where they can embrace one another as they continue to survive, evolve and thrive on her website at www.dorianadiaz.com.
When did you come to DVFS, and from where?
I came to DV for my sophomore year from a mainstream Quaker private school.
Can you tell us a little bit about your learning difference and struggles in school?
I was struggling academically at my old school. I was tested and diagnosed with specific learning differences and I started to understand why I wasn’t getting the material the same way as others in my classes were.
What changed for you when you came to DV?
I could finally breathe in the classroom. I didn’t have to feel like I was the only one struggling. I could ask a teacher a question without being afraid that the other kids would think I was stupid. As I got older at DV, what really changed was that I was learning about myself and figuring out what I loved. At my old school, I had no time to be high-schooler -- I was so involved in trying to pass and not drown -- but at DV I finally had the time to figure out what I like to do outside of academia. I really believe that Tom Lees [DV’s Associate Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion] saved my life and helped me discover what I really loved, which is diversity work -- and that is what I want to do with my life.
Do you have any special memories from your time at DVFS?
The great friends that I made at DV and the lasting memories are all connected to the diversity work I was involved in. I attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference as part of a group from DV, made a film with the Feminist Group that won the 2016 Bridge Film Festival Award for New Media, and so many other great experiences related to the committees and groups connected to diversity at the school.
What do you think the long-term value of a DVFS education has been for you?
Time. DV created an academic environment that gave me time to discover my passion for diversity work. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t have had the courage to go to college, major in what I’m majoring in, and do the work that I continue to do and identify the direction I want to pursue for a career. I believe in myself and because of that confidence, I know that I can sit in classroom, ask questions, challenge ideas, learn, and ultimately affect the world around me.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you’re a person of color and you’re interested in attending DV and you feel alone and isolated in your identity or learning difference, consider going and join diversity. This work can change your life.