“…Until the color of a man’s skin is no more significant than the color of his eyes, there is war”. Bob Marley was an incredible influence during Yvette McDonnells’ freshman year in high school. This significant part of Haile Selassie’s speech (influenced Bob Marley’s, song War) to the United Nations was the opening letter to the Superintendent of the school district to protest the lack of cultural diversity in the curriculum. From there, Yvette began her quest for a holistic education where everyone’s story is included.
Yvette has her Bachelor’s in Lusophone Studies, which is the study of the Portuguese language and the countries that speak Portuguese , her Master’s degree is in Higher Education; Student Affairs with a focus on Multiculturalism and Diversity, both from the University of Connecticut. She has over 15 years of progressive experience working in the field of Student Affairs: Admissions Coordinator /Residential Life Coordinator, Interim Director/Assistant Director of Retention, Assistant Director of Educational Opportunity Fund and as Director of Multicultural Affairs Department. She has as taught many Cultural Competency courses, workshops and First Year Experience courses.
Over the years, Yvette has developed a unique way to approach the conversation regarding equity, privilege and inclusion that allows for self-reflection, community building and trust to be established even before speaking about race, class, religion and gender. “I have taught comprehensive cultural sensitivity classes and workshops that approaches the conversation of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusivity in a safe manner. This allows participants to dive deep, look within and be more productive as change agents, not only in their respective working system settings but as human beings in general”.
Most recently, Yvette worked with the Institute of Justice and New Hampshire State Representatives to get hair braiding deregulated in New Hampshire. The bill was passed into law during the summer of 2017. “Working on this social action endeavor has given the opportunity for many women of the African Diaspora (who tend to dominate this profession), to earn an honest living for themselves and their families, without having to spend countless hours and sometimes up to $20,000 a year to obtain unnecessary licensing”.
“My life’s work is to plant seeds and bring attention to hard to discuss topics, as it relates to marginalized people in our society. In the same breath, I want to help others see the connections we have with each other and our symbiotic relationship to the environment. I may not be able to sit in the shade of the tree that I planted, but I sit in the shade, under the tree that was planted for me and that is why my sense of responsibility is so strong to do the work that I do”.
Yvette lives with her husband Rob and their daughter Anjali. They are a homeschooling family that views the world as a magical classroom. Yvette is an herbalist, she enjoys cooking, baking, hosting potlucks and is a professional “Belly Dance” performer and teacher.
|M.Ed | Higher Education; Student Affairs||University of Connecticut|
|BA | Lusophone Studies||University of Connecticut|
|Fire Cider: Keeping the Tradition Alive, Maine Herbal Conference, 2015|
|Enhancing Self Esteem through Yoga Dance, Renaissance Yoga Studio, 2008|
|Employing Interdependence: Working with Groups, York College of Pennsylvania, 2008|
|Multicultural Communication: Understanding from Within, York College of Pennsylvania, 2008|
|Soul Searching and Goal Setting, William Paterson University, 2007|
|Cultural Sensitivity Training, Warren Acres Detention Center, 2006-2007|
|Developing Self-Esteem, Phillipsburg Counseling Center, 2006|
|Diversity, Cultural Sensitivity and Conflict Resolution Training, Chesten Elementary School, 2006|
|Creating a Career Portfolio, Pieces of You Boutique, 2006|
|Getting Motivated & Staying Motivated, Lehigh Valley College, Fashion Department, 2006|
|Getting Organized, Lehigh Carbon County Community College, 2005-2006|
|Diversity in the Work Place, Lehigh Valley College, 2005|
|How to get into Graduate School: Sister to Sister Conference, William Paterson University, 2005|
|Preparing for Finals, William Paterson University, 2004-2006|
|McDonnell, Yvette. "Bye, Bye Hummies." Free to Breastfeed, Voices of Black Mothers, edited by Judy Torgus and Catherine Barber), Praeclarus Press, 2014, 133-145.|
Interests:Dancing, cooking, reading, art & crafts, enjoying friendships, potlucks, being still and present, being in nature, and watching birds while sipping tea.
- Homeschool Instructor-Vegan Cooking, Middle Eastern Dance, Yoga Dance, Earth School Co-op, 2014-2017
- Faculty Instructor-Journey of Discovery-Cultural Sensitivity, Birthwise Midwifery School, 2013-2016
- College Instructor– Foundations of Success, Warren County Community College,2006-2007
- College Instructor– Effective Study Skills, Lehigh Carbon Community College, 2005-2006
- College Instructor– College Experience, Lehigh Carbon Community College, 2005-2006
- College Instructor –First Year Experience, William Paterson University, 2004-2005
- College Instructor– On Course, First Year Experience, William Paterson University, 2004
Three Books You Recommend?
We Took to the Woods, Louise Dickinson Rich
Saving the World Entire, Rabbi Bradley R. Bleefeld and Robert L. Shook
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales, Dawn Casey and Anne Wilson