Contact: Melissa Whetzel, senior director of communications, 843.953.7752
Arvaughnna (Vaughn) Postema has earned dozens of awards during her four years at the College of Charleston, but it’s the impact she’s made on the campus culture that she’ll be most remembered for.
Vaughn Postema ’13, communication major
Postema is a mentor, a change agent, a community builder.
“Vaughn is definitely one of the individuals I look up to most in life,” says Joye Nettles, a computer science major. “She has helped me to become a strong, confident woman who is not afraid to take on any obstacle that may come my way.”
Students and professors are quick to credit Postema with helping African-American students feel at home at the College, and enabling them to succeed in and out of the classroom.
“I have personally witnessed Ms. Postema informally mentoring students in class, at the library, and elsewhere on campus,” remarks Robert Westerfelhaus, a communication professor. “I hope she has inspired other students to do the same – that building an inclusive, supportive community at the College is her legacy.”
A Born Leader
Postema has literally held dozens of leadership positions at the College of Charleston – from several roles in the Black Student Union to president of the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC). She was inducted into the College of Charleston Hall of Leaders in 2012 and 2013, and is the 2014 recipient of the Cistern Award.
Postema stepping during Georgestock
She’s made an incredible impact on multicultural students through her work with SPECTRA (Speedy Consolidation and Transition Program). She served as an intern, counselor, associate head counselor, and most recently as head leader/head counselor.
“Vaughn helped me in SPECTRA, with my financial aid, and overall she helped me get adjusted to college,” says freshman Julian Harrell. “I like seeing that she has a goal and she’s doing everything in her power to achieve that goal.”
SPECTRA is designed to help with the transition to college for multicultural and first-generation high school graduates. Incoming freshmen spend the summer on campus taking classes free of charge and getting to know professors and staff.
“I met Vaughn during SPECTRA in the summer of 2011. She wasn’t my counselor but I always made a point to listen when she talked,” Nettles says. “Reflecting on my experiences in shared circles with Vaughn, she is always the heartbeat that keeps us going. People like Vaughn are leaders. They inspire people in our community to want to do better and be better.”
Bringing the Community Together
Postema is part of the 2014 Homecoming court
“She made everyone feel accepted,” says Kalene Parker, a freshman exercise science major. “She never let obstacles stop her, she’s a pusher and that’s what the community needs. Someone that won’t stop and will make moves.”
Postema is invested in every student at the College of Charleston, and friends say she treats everyone the same – whether she just met them, or has known them for years.
In the greater Charleston community, she has worked with the step team at Fort Johnson Middle School, hosted the YWCA’s poetry slam, worked with the NAACP Goose Creek Chapter, and many more.
Professor Westerfelhaus says, “Our college and community have benefitted immensely from Ms. Postema’s skill in initiating, inspiring, organizing, supervising, and executing.”
Not surprisingly, Postema says she has a very strategic plan for her future that encompasses several aspects of media. Her immediate post-graduation plans include cultivating her radio career and eventually pursuing a Master’s in Entertainment Business.
“She is one of those people that we, as a campus, will really feel a loss when she leaves,” says Merissa Ferrara, communication professor.