With a heart of gold, Chanelle Davis was born as the eldest sister to a loving home in Ecorse, Michigan. Throughout her adolescence, Davis was often tasked with looking after her little sister and cousins. The more Davis spent time with her younger counterparts, the more quickly she found the role of a caregiver to be a natural fit. Davis realized her interests peaked where the wellbeing and development of the youth was concerned. Inspired by the enlightening guidance and mentorship she had received from her elders growing up, Davis wished to give back and help another young person discover their light in the world.
Years later, her family moved to Detroit where she would eventually find herself graduating Renaissance High School and looking onto life’s next chapter. From one caretaker of youth to another, Davis’s pediatrician spoke highly of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and recommended to Davis that she apply there for her undergraduate education. Davis desired to have her own clinical practice working with adolescents. Soon enough, Davis was accepted into the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and declared her major in developmental psychology. While Davis already had a strong idea of the career path she desired to embark on, becoming involved in student organizations and internships are what really cemented her aspirations.
Life took an unexpected turn when Davis enrolled in a first-year seminar in AfroAmerican and African Studies. It was the first time in her education where African-American history had been taught to her in such variety. Of course, Davis had learned about slavery, emancipation, the civil rights era, but Davis had never before gotten the privilege to know the many trials and accomplishments of African-Americans in other facets of life. Taking the seminar was like discovering the missing ripped pages of a history book and taping them back together. In the lectures, Davis learned about African-Americans’ role in higher education and the journey taken to establish themselves as esteemed figures in academia. The first-year seminar drew Davis to reflect on her own personal experiences as a black woman, especially as a black woman at a PWI. From there, Davis was hooked and decided to double major. In 2019, Davis earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and AfroAmerican and African Studies.
Unfortunately, her plans to enter community psychology programs after graduation didn’t exactly pan out. Instead, Davis moved back to Detroit where she would be employed in the education sector of a youth development program for the next two years. Davis’s experiences in the program would inspire her to slightly alter her career route into the nonprofit sector. Davis understood that her interest in service to community took place in caring for youth of all ages, even at the precarious stages of adulthood.
Around the summer of 2021, Davis spotted an open position in the University of Michigan’s Student Services in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. Being a DAAS major herself and having work experience with youth, Davis was more than perfect for the position.
“Being able to interact with students is what really drew me. I had an academic advisor and professors who became great mentors to me during my undergrad. After developing relationships with them and seeing how important it was to have staff members and faculty members who had my back and were able to help me think about what I wanted to do long term. I realized that that was something I want to help other students do.”
Currently, Davis is elated to be back on campus at the University of Michigan serving the community. Through student activism work, she learned of the former Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Education Center. Davis admired the center being a space for community activism and a resource center for black students and desires to consolidate resources for black and minority students akin to how the Baker-Mandela Center did before she was a student. Most importantly, Davis hopes to be a great support for all students, especially those looking for someone to lend an ear.