B.A., June 2012, Magna cum Laude
Home College: Medgar Evers
Mentor: Prof. Philip Ording, Mathematics, Medgar Evers
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
CUNY BA-Memorial Scholarship
Upsilon Pi Theta Honor Society
Lesley F. Hughes Award in Health Sciences
Ashanti Dixon’s mother says her daughter “began dancing in the womb.” In truth, Dixon started technically training for dance at the age of two, attending dance schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including the Martha Graham Contemporary School of Dance. Her dream was to attend LaGuardia High School, NYC’s specialized high school for the arts, but her mother forbade it. Instead she attended Benjamin Banneker for Community Development. In retrospect, Dixon says that was the best high school for her and she appreciates now her mother’s guidance.
[Find out what makes CUNY BA a great degree route for performing artists at this link: http://info.cunyba.gc.cuny.edu/cunyba-for-performers/]
At Banneker, Dixon learned she had a love not just for dance, but also for history, mathematics and science. She found that her teachers who were dancers, and friends who went to various Performing Art Schools, felt they’d been limited by studying only a dance curriculum, without serious engagement in other disciplines. Her high school experience also included a highly competitive internship with the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change. There she helped develop a curriculum for teaching the concepts of structural racism to high school students. Her contributions to that project were so significant, the Aspen Institute kept her on as a part-time staff member after the internship ended.
When Dixon enrolled in Medgar Evers College, she had no idea how she was going to incorporate all her ideas into a single degree, until she was advised about CUNY BA. She proposed to do an individualized degree in Dance Science, to study the well-being of dancers, spiritually, mentally and physically. She chose Mathematics professor Philip Ording as her mentor; Dr. Ording has been studying and teaching courses related to the use of math in dance, literature, writing and the visual arts. Together they carved out an ambitious program: courses in Biology, Chemistry, Dance, Health Science, Math, Physical Education and Physics at Medgar Evers, Hunter and Brooklyn Colleges.
Thanks to the benefit of her Thomas Smith Fellowship and supportive family at Agape Tabernacle International Fellowship, Dixon was able to participate in a group called Medical Brigades at Hunter College; with them she traveled to Honduras in summer 2010 helping to provide medical care to over 200 people from various villages with no hospitals or other medical facilities. Dixon has also volunteered at two bible vocational schools where she taught arts and crafts and dance, in Brooklyn and Mississippi.
Dixon is interested in using her Dance Science area to help women stay fit while pregnant, helping to promote healthier labor experiences. She is now preparing to apply for medical school to become an OB/GYN. While she waits on her acceptances to medical school, she will be preparing to become a Certified Pre/Post Natal Group Fitness Instructor and traveling the world learning different birthing techniques.