Thiel College’s New DEI Coordinator: Chimamaka Palmer

By: Jacob Walsh

Chimamaka Palmer has recently been hired as the new Coordinator of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office at Thiel College.  

Chimamaka was originally born in Warri, Nigeria, and moved to America in 2007. She lived in Cleveland for the bulk of her life and attended Mayfield High School. Palmer was a multi-sport athlete at Mayfield, playing soccer, and basketball, and competing in track. Palmer extended her athletic career to Thiel College, where she played soccer for three years. Chimamaka said that Thiel has also been a big part of her self-discovery and the college “opened me up in ways I couldn’t have expected, and I was able to embrace my authentic self”. 

At Thiel, Chimamaka graduated with a Psychology degree and has a focus on counseling. She is still indecisive on what to pursue for her psychology master’s.  

Palmer has also been interested in the arts her entire life, mainly in singing and songwriting. She began taking the arts more seriously during her sophomore year. Palmer has had multiple collaborations and art exhibits in Cleveland. Chimamaka has an Extended Play coming out later this year. 

In Cleveland, Palmer also worked with an inner-city school district on behavioral issue focus and how to combat them. She helped children sharpen life tools like compassion and positive emotion. Palmer also helped the district structure a curriculum around positive psychology.  

Chimamaka stated that “My journey has brought me back to Thiel, it feels like I’m getting closer to where I’m supposed to be”.  

When asked why Palmer took the DEI position at Thiel, she said “I saw this as an opportunity to have an impact in a way I couldn’t as a student. As great as Thiel is, there are some problems with student retention. Specifically, as a freshman, I saw that there was a significant amount of black women in my class. I saw the number go down every year and it felt isolating. I didn’t feel that this was a community that I could relate to. I want to solidify the community. I don’t want students to have a fleeing mentality, I want them to feel grounded where they are at. I was able to serve as a leader on campus and build my community. I want to show students that they can thrive here, socially, academically, thrive in every other aspect. It’s been a rough couple of years for everyone, seeing how much wasn’t done, I knew I had to come in and help in the best way I could”.  

Palmer hopes to collaborate with every department on campus and find answers to problems. She wants to bring solutions in a fresh way. “I want Tomcats to think more highly of themselves and have a thriving school spirit”. Chimamaka also wants sustenance in Thiel’s operations and to bring more art to the campus.

Lastly, Palmer was asked about her experience with DEI at Thiel. She said “As a student, the DEI position stood as a mentor role, but they could only do so much as non-student. I hope to be able to inspire and encourage our current students. I want to channel more into community building all the way from the students to the alumni and to the faculty.”

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