A first-generation college graduate, Rashida Weathers ’95 never imagined being a board member for her alma mater or serving on the planning committee for the College’s annual gala. Yet, she attributes her continued commitment to Chestnut Hill College to one of its founding principles.
“I think I was someone who was always considerate of others, but before I had even realized it, I had fully embraced the concept of Dear Neighbor,” said Weathers. “As an alumna, I’ve found that I have a deeper sense of duty and commitment to CHC and its future for prospective students. It’s an investment that goes beyond my time and my financial contributions.”
Even today, in her work as a lab director for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)’s mid-Atlantic region, Weathers relies on empathy, respect, and compassion to guide her relationships with colleagues.
“I’ve spent more than 20 years with the DEA, and as a director and a manager, I’ve seen employees go through important moments in their lives: weddings, deaths, graduations, children,” said Weathers. “I can confidently say that my ability to take the time to be invested in my employees and to know them on a personal level has made me a successful leader.”
According to Weathers, this type of behavior was common across campus and she quickly noticed how impactful it could be. She saw it first with the admissions team, who offered her a full scholarship. While CHC was not her top choice, the scholarship and financial support that the College offered her demonstrated to her early on that the College truly believed in her and her academic journey. Once on campus, Weathers’ decided to major in biochemistry. While she knew that it would be a challenge to break into a male-dominated field, the support she received at Chestnut Hill College (which was a women’s college at the time. CHC went co-ed in 2003) gave her the confidence after graduation to do anything.
“It always felt like if I needed anything – help with a class, professional development, overall guidance – I just had to ask for help and someone at Chestnut Hill College would step up,” said Weathers. “Whenever I talk about CHC, I let prospective students and parents know that the College will walk with you and provide you with tools for success throughout your educational experience, whatever that may look like.”
Weathers, alongside a colleague who also attended Chestnut Hill College, is known for talking to parents about the possibilities that the College could offer their children. Calling Chestnut Hill College “a hidden gem,” Weathers believes that it can easily be overlooked for its size and location. What she believes makes the school unique, however, is its ability to empower its students.
Outside of work, Weathers aims to do the same. For her department, she organized community outreach and mentor opportunities for young adults in her community (Prince George’s County, MD) to expose them to careers in science. She has also coordinated the donation of science equipment to local schools to encourage hands-on learning in the classroom.
“It’s important to me to create accessible pipelines for students, especially those in underrepresented communities, to experiences that can be life-changing in that they introduce them to new interests, skills, values, and careers,” said Weathers. “From the start, CHC offered me an opportunity that I’m not sure I would have had elsewhere and prepared me for the opportunities that came along the way. I’d like to be able to pay it forward and do the same for others.”