Jahad Chris Carter gains leadership skills at ECU, has big political dreams
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Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a voting booth one day and Jahad Chris Carter is on the ballot.
Carter remembers going to the polls with his mother when he was in elementary school, the day America chose Barack Obama for its next president.
“I was young and black, and it was inspirational for me,” Carter said.
Motivated by that historic election, Carter has, in turn, aimed to inspire and lead others while a student at East Carolina University, where he will earn two degrees on May 8: a bachelor’s in political science and a bachelor’s in communication.
His post-graduation plans include securing a fellowship before attending law school and getting more involved in politics, with the ultimate goal of reaching the White House.
Carter has followed this motto: There’s no such thing as an “L” or losing, only lessons. As such, he has constantly reflected and re-evaluated his journey, including changing his major three times before finding his passion at ECU.
“If you want to be a leader, it won’t be just you, but people around you,” said Carter, a first-generation college student from High Point, where his family moved from Atlanta when he was in middle school.
Carter thrives on helping people. One issue that is close to his heart is sexual assault, because he has had friends who were assaulted. Carter helped lead a women’s march on campus in January to bring awareness. He used his speech to talk to men, who he said get uncomfortable talking about the topic. “Don’t be a bystander. Part of the problem is complacency. We need to listen.”
He got involved in the Student Government Association his senior year, serving as director of equity and intercultural engagement. He introduced the indigenous land acknowledgment statement, a student-led initiative to honor the indigenous community on campus and the Native American history of the university and state. He also received the SGA’s Excellence in Leadership Award.
In his junior year, Carter served as editor-in-chief of Expressions magazine, which highlights essays, art, poetry and events relevant to minority groups on campus. He also served as social media coordinator and marketing specialist with Pirate Media.
In spring 2018, he studied in Italy through the ECU Tuscany program, made possible by a Thomas W. Rivers Foreign Exchange Scholarship in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.
“It was one of the most inspiring times of my life,” said Carter, who came out as gay while abroad. He said he dug deeply into his artistic roots through painting, drawing and photography. “It was an internal renaissance. I found out who I really was. I was able to blossom into someone else.”
Name: Jahad Chris Carter
College: Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, College of Fine Arts and Communication
Major: Political science and communication
Hobbies/Interests: Drawing, writing, poetry, community engagement
Clubs and organizations: Student Government Association (SGA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Student’s Treasure Chest
Favorite hangout: Anywhere green with a lot of trees
Favorite place on campus: SGA office
Favorite place to eat: Starbucks in the Main Campus Student Center
Favorite class: Political Science Civil Liberties
Professor who influenced you the most: Dr. Peter Francia
Favorite TV show: “Scandal”
Favorite band/musician: Beyoncé
Favorite movie: “Avengers: Endgame”
Dream job: President of the United States of America
Role model: Barack Obama and Beyoncé
Your words to live by: “There’s no such thing as an ‘L’ or losing, only lessons.”
What advice do you have for other students? If you see something that you want to change in your time here at East Carolina, you have the power to do it.
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year?:I wish I knew how impactful student government was and I would have joined it much sooner.