IAAS Graduate Teaching Assistant Chera Jo Watts is a mother, writer, gardener, yoga practitioner, and artist striving towards what Darlene Clark Hine labels a “Black Studies Mindset”. Her degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2010), Master of Arts in Religion, and Graduate Certificate in African American Studies (2022) from The University of Georgia. She is currently a doctoral student in the Religion program at The University of Georgia alongside her continued work in the Institute for African American Studies under the direction of Dr. Carolyn Jones Medine. Her broad research interests include African American women’s religion and literature, focusing primarily on Womanism, American Buddhist Modernism with an emphasis on Black Buddhists, and bridging the gap between the Academy and the everyday. As a non-traditional and first-generation student from a poverty class background, she’s interested in the intersections of race, religion, class, and gender as they relate to higher education access and attainment, and she asserts that we have much to learn from ancestors while operating among what bell hooks labels imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis-patriarchy. These teachings facilitate personal and communal healing as we continuously dismantle these systems of domination in the tangible ways that we can from the spaces that we occupy. Watts currently serves as the Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Institute for African American Studies at The University of Georgia.