Class of 2015: Julian Hinds champions students and civil rights

MyVU asked 13 graduating seniors how they found immersion at Vanderbilt and got as many different answers. We’re featuring their stories in the lead up to Commencement on May 8.

Julian Hinds
Julian Hinds is an Ingram Scholarship recipient. (Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt)

One of the challenges of doing the work that Julian Hinds is determined to do is that results may not be immediately palpable. Even a modest change in a Hillsboro High School student who was previously uninspired by school but is now demonstrating an interest in computer science is cause for encouragement.

“He is still progressing, but I was pleased when he informed me that he knew what he wanted to do with his future,” said Hinds, who encountered the student while serving in the Bridging the Gap program at the Nashville school. “Often you don’t get tangible results like that.”

The Hillsboro program Breakthrough Collaborative, for which he served as dean of students, and a role as diversity and community engagement intern at the University School of Nashville are among several educational programs in which Hinds has participated in association with the Ingram Scholarship Program. The program was founded in 1993 by late chairman of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust E. Bronson Ingram as a way to encourage Vanderbilt students to combine a professional career with a commitment to community service.

Hinds, who attended Vanderbilt on an Ingram Scholarship, plans to be an attorney who is deeply invested in civil rights issues and helping students gain access to quality education.

“My service interest has always been education,” said Hinds, who grew up in Conyers, Georgia. “[lquote]My interest in being an attorney has been there. But Ingram has helped merge the two.”[/lquote]

The education studies major has been working with the Metro Nashville Legal Department attorneys who represent Metro Nashville Public Schools. “I’ve been able to sit in on hearings for teacher removal and student appeals,” he said. “The work I’ve seen is very interesting, and I could see myself doing education work and making sure new members of the school board are trained properly. Attorneys play a role in that.”

Hinds counts his mentors as the most valuable part of his Vanderbilt education. They include Peabody professors Donna Ford, professor of education and human development; Ebony O. McGee, assistant professor of education, diversity and urban schooling; Joseph Wehby, associate professor of special education; and H. Richard Milner IV, formerly at Peabody College and now teaching at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Gail Williams, associate director of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations at Vanderbilt, also has been a source of guidance and advice, he said.

“The faculty and staff mentors I’ve had at Vanderbilt have been the key to finding my niche here,” Hinds said. “I have also found the ideas of my fellow Ingram Scholars in weekly meetings to be invaluable.  I’ve been able to bounce ideas off my peers, learn from them and do projects with them.”