DEAP students take interactive field trip to Cincinnati


The Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program (DEAP) has continued to increase campus commitment to diversity among its students. In celebration of Black History Month, the program took its students on an interactive trip to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

DEAP centers its purpose on fostering a community of support and executing uplifting initiatives to assist underrepresented groups of students in transitioning to and succeeding in college.

Cory Clark is the director of DEAP and believes these educational trips aid students in developing cultural awareness, identity, and a sense of belonging.

Cory Clark

“Part of DEAP’s objectives and outcomes is ensuring that students understand their culture and identity and being able to expose others to different cultures and identities because a lot of students have separate backgrounds,” Clark said.

Beyond DEAP, students from programs such as 21st Century Scholars, Indy Achieves, and TRIO Student Support Services participated in the trip.

“Sometimes it’s not always about being in a presentation and learning these things but being able to go out and experience art and culture and having these different ways of learning not only your identity, but other cultures, other histories,” Clark said.

Dre’von Smith and Lakyah Berry are two students still left in awe from the trip.

Smith, a sophomore majoring in visual communication design, has been in DEAP since his freshman year.

Smith highlighted the trip’s deviation from a general classroom experience, with the trip having more hands-on learning and providing relatable real-world examples of culture and identity.

“Experiences such as these help students to better understand areas of oppression and ways to understand different rules and laws in effect to provide individuals with the pursuit of freedom and opportunity,” Smith said.

Berry, a freshman majoring in social work, was moved by the exhibits’ raw display of narratives.

"Trips like this can help encourage thoughtful dialogue because it allows present generations to really reckon with the history of our society in a meaningful way," Berry said. "We were able to cry together at some of the exhibits and process this history together. Understanding how our past shapes our present and futures is vital."

Understanding how our past shapes our present and futures is vital.

Lakyah Berry, freshman social work major

The program has been actively hosting similar trips since early last year. During the spring 2023 semester, the program took students to the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The trip aimed to expose students to Ali’s history not only as an athlete but also as a civil rights and social justice advocate.

The previous semester’s trip occurred during Latinx Heritage Month, where students had the opportunity to travel to Chicago to visit the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Clark anticipates planning future trips for students and recognizes a positive correlation between educational trips and how they contribute to identity and self-efficacy.

“It contributes not only to identity development and cultural awareness, but also a sense of community amongst our students, which is very essential for student success,” Clark said.

For more information, contact the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of Communications at