Ariel D. Smith

Author, speaker, serial entrepreneur, and academic researcher who has made a career as a cultural change agent.

Ariel has been a public speaker for 15 years on the following topics: Pursuing your passion, creating your own lane in academia, DEI efforts in academia and corporate America, and Black innovation, and entrepreneurship.

A PhD Candidate at Purdue University, her research examines the experiences and representation of African Americans within the food truck industry and has been featured on national and international platforms such as Museum of Food and Drink, Black News Channel, and AL.com. She has taught over 300 undergraduate students within the fields of African American Studies and American Cultural Studies to students representing different cultures, backgrounds, and majors with the intent of fostering an environment for critical thinking and for students to gain DEI skills that can be used in any career. In 2020, Ariel served on the Purdue University Taskforce to address the concerns and experiences of Black students on campus. Previously, Ariel has served as the Scholar-in-Residence for the Purdue Black Cultural Center from 2019 until the end of the 2021-22 academic year. Ariel holds a Master of Education in Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education and Human Development. She also earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a Human Resource concentration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business with distinction in Global and Community Leadership

My inspiring life lessons: Ask not what the world needs. Instead ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do it, for what the world needs are people who have come alive.-- Howard Thurman

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