Whitney Maddox leaves Georgetown with a lasting impact 

January 31, 2021

Illustration by Deborah Han

Whitney Maddox (G’10, ’19), the Center for Social Justice’s (CSJ) Assistant Director of Leadership Development and Racial Justice Initiatives, has departed Georgetown for a new position as NPR’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) manager beginning Feb 1. Whether a student, intern, or faculty member, Maddox has become a beloved figure in Georgetown’s community for working to elevate the voices and issues of BIPOC students.

Maddox was one of 499 candidates from across the country who applied for the new position, according to NPR. She will lead anti-racism workshops and other training at NPR and member stations and help individuals and teams advance DEI goals.

Maddox received both a Master’s degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown. Before working at the CSJ, she served as a graduate intern in Georgetown’s Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA), working with families in targeted DC public schools in the college search and financial aid processes.

“When I came to Georgetown in 2009, it was to get my journalism degree. And the plan was to move to New York after graduation and work in magazines, but God had other plans,” Maddox said. She stayed longer than she anticipated, raising awareness for local middle school students on the importance of preparing for higher education.

“That program, which works with Black and Brown youth from DC, is largely the reason why I began to think differently about my own ability to advocate for marginalized people, she said.”

At the Office of Student Conduct, Maddox helped to oversee the adjudication process in student’s legal cases. She transitioned to the CSJ, initially acting as the Assistant Director for Student Organizations and Leadership Development. According to the university website, Maddox was most recently in charge of connecting “Georgetown students to service and social justice opportunities, managing CSJ’s advising of student organizations, and building CSJ’s staff members’ capacity to oversee and advise student organizations.”

Maddox is most known on-campus for focusing her work around the experiences of BIPOC students. Through her Start Talking About Race (STAR) sessions held throughout the school year, Maddox has centered BIPOC voices in dialogues about race and racism.

“I have absolutely seen real change occur on-campus during my tenure because of student advocacy, but with each new class I have also seen the cycle of frustrated, angry and disheartened BIPOC students. That is largely why I have stayed at Georgetown for as long as I have because I wanted to help them, and show them how to navigate a system that was not created for them.”

Countless students, members of The Voice included, have attended STAR sessions. As Maddox puts it herself, “STAR is not a training. It’s a space for us to unpack through dialogue the ways in which race impacts how we view, engage, and invisibalize those around us.”

As a result, students have left feeling informed and hopeful for future generations of the country. “The day that Whitney Maddox entered my life was the day that my life started to make a bit more sense, and I have only grown and learned from her since,” Rachel Newman (NHS ‘22) wrote. “The time I spent with Whitney— getting a crash course on treasurer duties, attending a STAR, or listening to ‘The Boy is Mine’ on zoom calls—made me better.”

“One of the things that I made a priority during my time at Georgetown was ensuring that BIPOC students knew that I was a part of their community. That I saw them for who they were, and wanted to do my best to represent them in every space that I was in,” Maddox said. “I hope that even after I am gone from Georgetown, students will talk about the lessons that they learned from STAR but more importantly, speak up when they see and hear something that is not just.”

The name STAR will transition with Maddox on to NPR and will now be referred to as Racial Justice Dialogues within Georgetown. The next dialogue will be held February 26.

Although she will be greatly missed by the community, students and faculty alike are grateful for her service to matters of race, racism, and privilege. “Thank you so much for being a gift to Georgetown, and NPR is going to be so lucky to have you! You truly truly deserve every bit of success and joy that I know this next chapter is destined to bring you. I love you so very much,” Tremelle Lester (COL ‘21) said in an online statement.

“Having the opportunity to work with Whitney was one of the highlights of my time at Georgetown.  It was an honor to work with someone as dedicated, caring, passionate, and hardworking as Whitney,” Rachel Williamson (NHS ‘20) added. “She sets a bar of excellence, elevating those around her to reach their highest potential. NPR is truly lucky to gain Whitney as a member of their staff.  I cannot wait to witness the amazing things she will do in this next chapter.”

Maddox is thrilled for the future, yet somber about those she must leave behind. “I will absolutely miss the community that I was a part of with students. I will also miss the very deep way that students challenged me, loved me, and cared for me. I continue to say this, but I am too connected to this community to ever say goodbye, so it’s see-you-later,” she said. “I hope that every person that I was able to connect with at Georgetown remembers me as someone who cared, who listened, and who reminded them of the beauty in being yourself.”

Sophie Tafazzoli
Sophie is an assistant news editor and a sophomore in the College studying Government and pursuing a minor in Journalism. She is currently living in Los Angeles and loves a good icebreaker.

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