Monique Russell, podcaster and author with Bahamian and Nigerian roots, is a graduate of Broadcast Journalism from St. Cloud State University Minnesota. She prides herself in being a globetrotter who enjoys learning the cultures of others to expand her perspectives. Monique works and lives in Atlanta with her Togolese husband and two sons. Having immigrated to the U.S right after high school, she recounts how enthused she had been to leave the Bahamas to go to college in the U.S.
Getting into college took an unexpected turn since Monique’s attempts to study at the University of Charlotte (UNC Charlotte ) fell through. Thankfully, her mother helped her in getting in as an undergrad at the St. Benedict’s University, a private university in St. Joseph, Minnesota – a school most of her female relatives had attended. Life as an international student was very interesting for Monique, and within her first year in college, she was appointed as the multi-cultural consultant, responsible for transporting international students from the airport to school. During her first year of college, she decided to transfer to St. Cloud University, a public university in Minnesota.
While in college, Monique was very engaged with different student groups, and was an active member of the African Students Association (ASA) and Council of African American Students (CAS). She soon discovered the underlying disparities between these two groups of people, and often found herself wondering why one group felt superior to the other. Her experiences in these groups inspired her to start her podcast Bridge To U in 2020 which is centered on diversity and inclusivity within black culture.
Passionate about exploring the cultures of other people through traveling, Monique encourages immigrants to the U.S to broaden their mindsets and to focus on the positive. She also encourages them to remain true to their roots while striving to transition into American society. For some years, Monique struggled with embracing her identity of being partly Nigerian due to the negative stories and speculations surrounding Nigeria, but traveling to Nigeria as an adult has given her better perspective . Moreover, she emphasizes that traveling is an education because it expands our perceptions of things, people, and of life in general. She recalls an incident while in college when someone had asked how it felt to wear clothes thinking it was a new experience for her since she grew up in the Bahamas.
Monique reveals that coming to the U.S has given her a better sense of appreciation of her past experiences and her future aspirations. She is particularly appreciative of her mom’s discipline which prevented her from spending too much time watching tv as a young girl. Monique strongly believes that the information we feed on from the media could positively or negatively our understanding of people and things. She also believes the media has the power to create a biased and/or misinformed judgement about a group of people, ethnicity, or race. Therefore, it becomes paramount that people filter the information they take in and focus on the positive in any given situation.
Lastly, Monique considers herself a success and desires to gift immigrants with a powerful shift in their mindsets. If they are to grow, they should control and nurture their minds for their minds affect the quality of their lives.