RIT Associate Professor Nickesia Gordon earns prestigious Fulbright award

Gordon will develop a health communication master’s degree program in her home country of Jamaica

A native of Jamaica, Nickesia Gordon has always had hopes of using her knowledge and expertise in health communication, gender, and social change to make the world a better place. Now, having earned a prestigious Fulbright Scholars award, Gordon, an associate professor in RIT’s School of Communication, will travel back to Jamaica to begin the process of establishing a graduate program in health communication.

Fulbright Scholar Awards are offered to those who have displayed an outstanding commitment to research, teaching, and intercultural partnerships between the host country and the United States. Gordon seems to be a perfect example of why this commitment to international education continues to draw impressive Fulbright candidates.

A key component of her participation lies in the development of a graduate program with faculty at the University of Technology that will connect with local and international non-governmental organizations to expand the reach and positive impacts that a health communication degree can provide. The hope is that creating health communication campaigns and interventions that are locally relevant will reach traditionally underserved communities and populations.

“My grandparent instilled in me a sense of obligation to my community, and my work in the media industry has helped me to realize the power and influence of communication to shape attitudes and perceptions,” explained Gordon, who began her career as a journalist and television producer. “As an educator, I strive to be like the professors I had as an undergraduate student in the sense that they were brilliant, made an intellectual investment in their students, and made a significant commitment to nation building.”

Gordon has pursued previous research in the Caribbean, including analyses of Caribbean music, studies of Caribbean culture through the feminist lens, and the valuation of local cultural traditions and ways of knowing in communication settings.

“What I’m interested in from a curricular and research point of view is indigenous knowledge building in the Caribbean,” said Gordon. “Oftentimes, we don’t necessarily hear about theories or frameworks that are indigenous. I’m interested in looking at ways of creating content that is relevant for the people that we’re trying to reach.”

Throughout her tenure at RIT, Gordon has impressed upon her students the importance of “understanding the value of compassion and, from that, to be inspired to stand up for equity and doing the right thing by those forced to the margins because of race, gender, expression, sexual identity, or any other imagined, unbridgeable difference society may make up.”

Gordon plans to travel to Jamaica in the fall of 2024.

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