12 on Tuesday: Fatoumata Ceesay


    Fatoumata Ceesay is a UW-Madison journalism student and a reporter in the Madison365 Academy. A Bronx native, she moved with her family to Madison at the age of 12 and graduated from Madison East High School. She serves on the board of directors of the Muslim Student Association.

    Rank your Top 5 MCs.

    1. Beyoncé
    2. Jay Z
    3. J Cole
    4. Chance the Rapper
    5. Rihanna

    Which motivates you more: doubters or supporters? I think my supporters motivate me far more than any doubter can. I rely on the people who know me best to help me in my time of need, and I don’t think I would be able to get as much done with people doubting me rather than supporting me.

    What three leaders under 50 have impressed you the most? 

    Gail Ford
    Justice Castaneda
    Ali Muldrow

    Why do you live in Madison? I have lived in Madison ever since my family moved here when I was 12. I think Madison is a great city full of wonderful things to keep me occupied; however, I would like to eventually venture out of the city to explore some more.

    What’s the biggest stumbling block in Madison to turning the corner on our racial disparities?  The biggest stumbling block when it comes to Madison is admitting that Madison is not as liberal as many people make it to be. In fact, I think a lot of Madisonians think that since they live in a fairly liberal area, it isn’t possible for them to commit micro aggressions. There is no talk about racial issues in Madison, so how can we work towards working on racial disparities?

    What are your top three priorities at this point in your life? My top priority is my education. Making sure I graduate from UW-Madison is very important to me.

    The people I surround myself with are also very important to me. I make sure I spend as much time as possible with these people because it helps keep me balanced.

    My happiness is another priority. I think I spent too much time thinking about how to be a good ___ (whether that be friend, daughter, etc.) and I never thought about how to make myself happy. I decided to change that way of thinking and now I choose to do things that make me happy.

    Why do you think Madison East is the best high school in Madison? (For transparency…I went to East High School)? Honestly, it isn’t the best high school, at least in terms of hard facts. East is probably one of the worst in the Madison Metropolitan School District (I’m not too sure on where East stands actually, just making that clear). However, I do think that East students have the most school spirit and pride, and I also think East students are just as hardworking as any other students in the school district. I am very proud to be an East High alum.

    What’s your favorite place to eat in Madison? One of my favorite places to eat in Madison is at a Pakistani food place called Madistan. The food is amazing, the owners are so lovely, and it gives me a chance to experience a different culture.

    Michelle Obama or Serena Williams? Why? I would have to go for Michelle Obama. Although both women are phenomenal in their own ways, I think I relate more to Michelle Obama and I like what she stands for. Not to say that Serena Williams doesn’t have great ideals, but I don’t really know much about her. Also I’m nowhere near as strong as she is, so there isn’t much for me to relate to.

    Name three places in the world you want to visit and why? This is very hard because I want to go everywhere. I think for now the top three places I would like to visit are Cuba, India, and Japan. Since the Cuban borders opened up recently to US citizens, I really want to go and learn more about Cuban culture. I think those are some of the reasons I want to visit India and Japan as well. Another reason why is because I’ve seen so many Indian movies and Japanese shows that I want to be able to put the places into perspective. Of course I know movie sets and animation do not accurately describe what everyday life is like, it would be nice to see cultural parts of these countries that I’ve seen so many times in movies.

    You are now a sophomore in college. What advice would you give high school students on preparing for college life? The best advice I can give anyone is to stay organized. I know for myself I get really disorganized and then I lose motivation to do my work. Staying on top of my things from early on (not just homework, but orgs and friends) can help so much when it’s the middle of the semester and everyone else is freaking out because they’re behind on work and you’re just chilling.

    Ten years from now who is Fatoumata? That is difficult. Especially because I won’t know who Fatoumata is two years from now. Ideally, I would like to be working for a company that lets me do photojournalism. I actually haven’t really thought much about my future, but what I do know is that I won’t be living in Madison.