The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

Oscar Meyer Wienermobiles?


Jamia Danzy is the Dean of Students for all VTSU campuses and is specifically based at the Johnson location in Dewey 161.


What are some of your responsibilities as a dean of students?

So, my job is making sure that services like residents life and public safety, health and wellness services and student activities are what students need, that the services meet their needs, and that students are satisfied with what they’re receiving. And that, you know, so they’re able to excel outside of the classroom. So I get the fun job.


What brought you to Johnson?

Previously, I worked at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York; I’m from Rochester, New York. So, I’d worked there for about seven years. And I guess at this point, it might be almost two years ago, [I] applied for a job at Castleton. It didn’t work out but I loved the experience. And I was sad that Vermont didn’t work out. When this job came, someone who was on that search committee reached out to me and said ‘you should look into this.’ And I did, and I’m happy that it resulted in me landing here.

If you could have lunch with one person in history, who would it be and why?

I would say Harriet Tubman. A couple of summers ago I went on a walking tour of where she lived and where she went to church and where she was buried, just right in Auburn, New York. The state parks do a free tour and it’s all within this two-mile radius, very fascinating. And the relationships she built as a black woman in the 1800s and the people that she saved, I sometimes think of when I come up against challenges and difficulties. And when I’m going through that experience, I would really want to pick through her brain, because she truly fought through a lot of ugliness and terrible, terrible ordeals to bring people to a better place, and she put herself in a lot of danger. It puts it in a different light a little bit, so I would love to hear her stories and just see what was going on in her head.


What’s your ideal winter day?

I really want to learn how to ski. So maybe have a little bit of snow so I can get a skiing lesson. But really, I would love to be somewhere warm. Inside after I get done skiing, I’d want a good hot chocolate and be with people I care about. I love to read, so a nice book; hopefully that would fit somewhere in there too.

You’ll like this next question then: If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh my God. Such a good question. When I was in elementary school, I was in the Newbury Club, which is when you would read Newbury books and do book interviews and get stars and have like a pizza party at the end. But it was so, so much fun. I would probably choose one of those books. I’m trying to remember- I don’t know. [The book] Sounder  just keeps popping up into my mind.

What was the last gift you’ve given someone? [Disclaimer, Jamia made sure to give me plenty of VTSU swag after the interview, so technically that’s the last gift she’s given.]

I just spoke to my best friend about coming to this college and I sent them some Vermont swag. I don’t know if that counts. I think I sent them some VTSU stuff, a couple water bottles, some reusable bags, and they were really excited to get it.

Do you have a lucky number?

I feel like the number 8 has always been good to me?

What was the first real job you ever had?

Um, my first real job. I worked at a childcare center. I was like 13 or 14, my city had a good grade program. If you got good grades, you got to get a job, so I was like 13 or 14. I was working with low-income kids who were in childcare, and we would work on their developmental skills.  They weren’t delayed, but there was a concern that because they were low income, they were at risk to be, so we did a lot with them like playing with them, reading to them, and really making sure that we were helping them to develop in a positive way. I think I really learned from that job, because it was like an 8 a.m. to like 3 p.m. I learned the value of getting up early, earning a paycheck, and really helping someone at the end of the day.

What would your last meal be?

Let’s see, um, my mom’s fried chicken. And my dad’s beans and rice. They’re both southern, so they would be my last meal if I had a choice, something from them. And I make a really good lemon cake, so probably that too. Yeah. Comfort food.

If you’re having a bad day, what’s the first thing you do when you get home?

Turn on some music. Yeah, turn on some music, because if I was at home, I would have talked to my mom or my best friend. So I turn on music, and probably start cleaning or getting ready for dinner.

What kind of music?

Oh, I like everything. I love 90s stuff. I love Alanis Morisette, Duran Duran, gosh, George Michael, but I love some current stuff. I like pop. I like everything.

What’s the strangest encounter you’ve had with an old teacher or professor?

Oh, two jobs ago so maybe when I was around 22, we were doing some hurricane prep because a big hurricane was headed for us. This is when I worked at a school in Connecticut, and we went to the grocery store to pick up batteries and other stuff. Flashlights. I think we were really low. And as we’re coming out, we see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile with the people dressed up in the Oscar Meyer attire. People are just walking past them and we’re like, ‘we should go say hello to these Oscar Meyer wiener people.’ And we start talking to them and they’re like, ‘what are you doing?’ We told them we were working at a college, and they’re like, ‘oh my gosh, can we come with you?’ Absolutely. You can come back. They came back to campus with us and  we got to get in Wienermobile, which was so cool. And I got to yell at people through the Wienermobile, I was just yelling like, “Does anyone want wieners?” It was so much fun.

I’ll also never forget, I had a new boss at the time, he’d been there for like a week. And they’re all coming out of these emergency planning meetings, like serious stuff. And I’m just yelling at them, “Do you like wieners? Who wants wieners?” I have a wiener whistle somewhere around here. And I remember being sad initially that I wasn’t a part of the planning, like I wanted to help. But then I was like, if I hadn’t gone to the grocery store, we would have never run into them. So I guess I was where I needed to be.

Coffee or tea?

Why should I have to choose? Um, I like fancy coffee drinks, and tea. Plain coffee is no fun.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Trust yourself.

What’s your least favorite household chore?

Cleaning? Anything? I guess the bathroom specifically, I hate cleaning the bathroom.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Oh, it’s not really a talent but I can read really fast. I like relishing the act of reading, so actually I don’t really like that about myself.

What were some of the most memorable places you’ve visited?

I’m from upstate New York, which means we’re close to Niagara Falls and Toronto, so I’ve been there a few times. I’ve been in Montreal. Now I’m thinking internationally, I’ve been to Grand Cayman Island. That was a lot of fun. Beautiful, beautiful. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been to Turks and Caicos. The Bahamas. Yeah, the really warm places. The goal now, I really want to go to Portugal and Iceland. I want to see some more European places.

What’s one thing you think everyone should try at least once in their lifetime?

I think you should try traveling outside of where you’re from, go somewhere different. And see what that’s like. Embrace the culture, try different foods, meet different people there. You might just like it.

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About the Contributor
Mik Crane
Mik Crane, Staff Writer
Mik Crane (she/her) is an undeclared early college student who fled to VTSU-Johnson to escape her soul-crushing high school. She loves writing, snowboarding, and hanging out with her white crusty dog, Theodore Benson.