18th Dec2013

Darren Stokes Junior – Lincoln University of PA ’13

by Staff

Come learn about Darren Stokes, Junior and his legendary HBCU Experience at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania! He shares his favorite food spots, favorite professors, band chants, and much, much, more. 

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Proud HBCU Alum and Entrepreneur, Darren Stokes Junior of Lincoln University of PA 13 | Image Credit: Darren Stokes, Junior

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

First, I was intrigued about the chance to meet other African Americans who come from many different places in the U.S.

Secondly,I wanted to be a part of “showstyle, high stepping” marching band and you can only get that experience at an HBCU. After searching for a school to make my #1 choice, I found and quickly chose LU!

Where are you from? When you were younger who introduced you to the greatness that is HBCUs?

Chester,PA. I was introduced to HBCU’s in a college prep program in high school.

How did you decide to become a student at Lincoln University of PA?

Scholarship

Feel free to elaborate…

As mentioned earlier, I wanted to be in an HBCU-style marching band. After choosing Lincoln University as the college of my choice, I auditioned for a scholarship to be in the percussion section of the LU Orange Crush Roaring Lion Marching Band.

Which professors at Lincoln University of PA left the most impression upon your academic and personal life? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

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H. Wade Johnson, Adjunct Instructor | Image Credit: lincoln.edu

The LU Band Director , H.Wade Johnson and Assistant Band Director Ronald Green taught me valuable life lessons such as always giving your best efforts,being consistent in all that you do, and being disciplined in your craft.

Professor William Dadson has taught me the principle of making sacrifices today so that I can have what I want in the future.

Professor Robert Allen has taught me lots of important information regarding leadership, ethics, and management. All of this info from each professor has helped me become who I am today.

What is the story of your “HBCU experience” at Lincoln University of PA?

4 great years I’ll never forget!

Made lots of great memories with my Orange Crush Band family. I met a lot of people who I’ve gotten close to and can call “brother” or “sister”. I got a great education and had lots of fun while doing it.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

I learned that you can meet all kinds of people with different backgrounds and life experiences. That’s always been intriguing to me!

How did your HBCU help you to transition into your careers workforce?

I’m not fully into my career just yet. However, the information I learned from the professors mentioned above is helping me in my current workplace.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

Business Management. I chose it because I knew that I wanted to start my own business.

How did you overcome your nervousness that first year?

Being in the marching band played a big role in helping me adjust to the college life.

What were the chants heard most often at sporting events?

LU! Lincoln Pride! LU! Lincoln Pride! 1-8-5-4, 1st HBCU for sure!

What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Favorite dishes?

Pizza Hut, Applebees and Dominos. My “brother” Mike and I ordered from Dominos very often!

The best places on campus were “the Grille” (KFC,smoothie bar,etc.) After the Grille was removed the best place to eat on campus became the Marvelous Market. They have chicken wraps, pizza, salads, etc.

I was lucky to enjoy food prepared by my “Sister” Shanta and/or “Brother” Rakim on several occasions.

Who was your college crush? Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle?

I choose not to disclose that information LOL

How were you positively active on your college campus? What about in high school?

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Support STOKES Entertainment | Image Credit: Darren Stokes Junior

I was in the marching band as a member of the drumline. I also was involved with several campus events as the videographer through my videography business, STOKES Entertainment.

What advice would you give high school students filling out college applications for the first time?

Be patient in order to avoid getting frustrated. Also ask for help if you may need it.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

Be careful and alert at all times because you’re in a new environment. Have fun!

Questions about Lincoln University PA that weren’t answered? Need help completing your college application? Contact Darren!

Email: darrenstks@yahoo.com
Social Network Contacts: Facebook- Darren Stokes Jr. Twitter – StokesEnt
Instagram: StokesEnt
Offline Business: STOKES Entertainment

Affordable, Reliable and Efficient videography service

Work samples can be seen at www.youtube.com/stokesentproductions

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03rd Dec2013

Audrey Parks – Alabama State University ’13

by Staff

Inspirational and Motivational HBCU Alum, Audrey Parks shares her legendary story as a non-traditional student at Alabama State University, speaks on her family, and how it all came to be.

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Audrey Parks, Proud Graduate of Alabama State University ’13 | Image Credit: Audrey Parks

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

Honestly, I chose ASU to not seem like a hypocrite to my daughter who I talked into transferring to from a jr. college.

Where are you from? When you were younger who introduced you to the greatness that is HBCUs?

I was born in Montgomery, Ala, but my father’s military career had us traveling. I have a father and an Aunt that graduated from ASU, but I truly did not see its importance until I stepped foot on the campus.

Because of that I have made it my life’s work to spread the importance of having pride in and attending HBCU. My granddaughter at 1 years old knows all of the ASU chants and can identify the ASU brand anywhere.

How did you decide to become a student at Alabama State University? Feel free to elaborate…

My decision to attend ASU goes back 22 years. As a military dependent, I could have attended ASU for free after graduating HS, however because of negative things I heard about the school, I always told my dad, “If I have to go to ASU, then I will not go to college.” 20 years, a husband and 5 kids later my words rang loudly in my ear.

I did not realize that I had spoken my future with those words until I attended my first class at ASU.

In 2010, after being told for years that my lack of education was a hindrance to me being promoted I decided that the timing was right to go back to school.

After deciding to go back to school I could not go to another school after telling my daughter that ASU was the best choice for her. I had to honor my word and show her what a good school it was by joining.

Which professors at  Alabama State University left the most impression upon your academic and personal life? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Kamila long (Left) Adjunct Professor Shanessa Sweeney (Right) | Image Credit: Hornet Happenings

Kamila long (Left) Adjunct Professor Shanessa Sweeney (Right) | Image Credit: Hornet Happenings

My first class at ASU was on a Wednesday afternoon. It was Intr. to Theatre and the instructor was Shanessa Sweeney (“Follow” Professor Sweeney on Twitter). That class was full of 17-19 year old freshman that were loud and rowdy. Prof. Sweeney a young woman herself came floating in class and I thought, “oh Lord what have I gotten myself into.” I went home that afternoon and told my family, “I am going to hate this class.” Little did I know, that class set my collegiate career up for success.

Prof. Sweeney treated the students as adults and helped me to see each of them the same. I became inspired and hopeful about the future as a result of her teaching style and passion for empowerment!

Prof. Sweeney helped me to see those students for their inner beauty. Her class offered opportunities for students to tell their stories of how they made the journey to ASU and the many obstacles they overcame to get to college. This helps me today to see people despite what their exterior says. I see people, humans and potential in every young person I come in contact with.

Instead of that being the class I dreaded, as I thought it would, it became and still is my favorite class during my time at ASU.

What is the story of your “HBCU experience” at Alabama State University?

My HBCU story is one of inspiration, passion and enlightenment. I love myASU and everything it stands for. I understand the importance of a quality HBCU experience. I was inspired by the many bright and talented students. I found passion for my people and our important mark on history. I was enlightened by the many contributions of blacks and this great country and the world.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

Well, my story is in reverse, I came out of banking and private Christian School so I was bringing my diverse workplace experience to ASU. My time at ASU is helping me to be more confident in the diverse workplace.

How did your HBCU help you to transition into your careers workforce?

Having to complete two internships as part of my graduation requirements gave me the opportunity to build my network and apply my courses to real life situations. This has helped me to be confident and proud to represent myASU.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

I majored in Print Journalism and minored in Public Relations.

My major actually chose me. I took the a job assessment survey and scored rather high in communications and public relations. Always knowing that ASU had a great reputation as one of the top Communications programs helped to confirm that path for me.

How did you overcome your nervousness that first year?

I made a decision to not be the typical non-traditional student. I went into the school with an open-mind and closed mouth. I made it a point to listen and respect my instructors and their experiences. I made a conscience decision to listen and not talk and try to prove to the other students how much I knew.

What were the chants heard most often at sporting events?

Yea, Yea Yeeeeeeah STATE! A-S-A-S-A-S-U!

What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Favorite dishes?

American Deli which has the best wings in the City!

Who was your college crush?

Lol! My college crush was/is my husband Shawn who supported my decision to return to school full-time and not work.

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle?

Football!

MH: At the football games?

Yes, at the football games, but to be honest the students cuddled everywhere!

How were you positively active on your college campus? What about in high school?

I was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Public Relations Society of America (PRCA). Active in many seminars and campus functions.

What advice would you give high school students filling out college applications for the first time?

Start early and narrow your choices based on what your desired major is.

Research and find scholarship opportunities for the colleges you are considering. Chose a school that is well rounded and one you would not mind becoming active in.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

Enjoy the journey of your college experience. Take advantage of every opportunity that you can while you are a student!

Questions about the Alabama State Experience? Need help with your college application? Respectfully contact Audrey!

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/audrey.parks.581

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01st Dec2013

Shannon Whitaker – Lincoln University of Pennsylvania ’13

by Staff

“Life is what you make it.” Shannon Whitaker embodies this proverb. You are going to read a story that gives insight into the Famed HBCU Experience at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania as well as a story that speaks of hard work, determination and intense focus. Take Heed!

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Shannon Whitaker, Proud HBCU Graduate of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania c/o ’13 | Image Credit: Shannon Whitaker

Where are you from? How did you first hear about HBCUs?

I was born in Brooklyn NY. In my senior year of high school, I moved to Pennsylvania. I debated whether I wanted to go to college or not. When it came time for me to apply to colleges a few friends were telling me about Lincoln University and Cheyney University.

My aunt was the person that helped me search for schools. She went to Benedict College, so she lead me to looking up HBCUs. In my search I came across Lincoln University for a second time.

I remember growing up she would tell me about her college days. It all sounded like fun but I did not know if I wanted to go to college.

What made you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

All of the tours I took of HBCUs, I was amazed by the hospitality. I felt like I was family at the schools even before I applied. On the contrary, when I went to PWIs, it seemed like I was just another number. I am an advocate for community and I observed a sense of community touring HBCUs. Everyone on the HBCU campuses stopped to introduce themselves and share some insight with us. On the PWI campuses I didn’t get that same feeling.

How did you decide to become a student at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania ?

I started out attending University of Phoenix online. I did not like the experience at all. From there I decided I wanted a traditional college experience. I started looking at schools again.

It was two years after I had graduated from high school and I was starting college, again, as a freshmen. When I told people at work and church that I applied to colleges they were all excited.

However, when I told them one of my choices was Lincoln University, everyone urged me to go there. So when I received my acceptance letter it was a “no-brainer”, I was going to Lincoln University.

What professors at  Lincoln University of Pennsylvania left the most impression upon you as a student and/or person? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

I would have to say all of my professors. Honestly, I can say all of my professors expected more of me than I was willing to give. They pushed me beyond expectations I had set for myself. They were really invested into me. They all gave me opportunities to experience something different.

I sang with the concert choir and we performed all over the east coast. I volunteered in Pine Ridge S.D. on a Native American reservation for a week. I went to Chicago to seminary preparation retreat. These experiences left an impression on me that I could never forget.

Professors like Prof. Edryn Coleman, Dr. Mel Leaman, and Rev. Frederick Faison forced me to live the experiences I was learning about. My experiences traveling and meeting people from all works of life is what help me in the classroom. That is what left an impression on me.

My professors at Lincoln were transparent with me. I could always walk into one of my professor’s offices talk whatever I was struggling with. Those talks helped me to build character and gain knowledge about myself and the world around me.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

Lincoln University helped me to become more diverse in my thought because it opened me open to think in a perspective other than mine. There were always events to make us think outside of our own thoughts. As students we’d get together and talk through our thoughts about different topics that were affecting us. Sometimes they ended in debates but we all understood that it was our opinion. We left understanding another perspective.

What were the chants heard most often at the sporting events?

The cheerleaders chant was “Do it!!!”

Our school pride chant is “L.U. Lincoln Pride. L.U. Lincoln Pride. 1.8.5.4. The First HBCU for sure.” The Concert choir sings the alma mater The band had so many chants.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

My major was Religion my minor was music. I choose religion as a major because I was interested in how there are so many different religions in the world and interested in how they all are prevalent in our world today.

I chose music as a minor because I stared singing in the concert choir. I spent so much time in the Ware Center practicing music I decided to learn more about what I was singing. I could not read music or play an instrument.

So I figured why not take the opportunity to improve my gift to sing.

What was your proudest moment @ Lincoln University of Pennsylvania?

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Shannon Whitaker, now a proud HBCU Alum and Graduate of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania ‘c/o 13 | Image Credit: Shannon Whitaker

My proudest moment was graduating. After spending two semesters of struggling to pay a $4000 balance, maintaining a 3.0 gpa, and all the other academic obligations I had taking on, it was a relief. It was not easy but I did it.

What was your saddest moment @ Lincoln University of Pennsylvania?

During 2010-2011, Lincoln lost about five students. It was a difficult time for us students getting that news within months apart of a fellow Lion’s death.

The most troubling moment was the car accident the happened right outside the campus gates with three students in the car. We lost on brother, one was critically injured and the other by the God’s grace walked out with a leg injury. That day will never be forgotten on Lincoln Campus.

Even to this day it’s a sensitive topic to talk about.

How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

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“Lincoln University’s Sophomore Year Experience (SYE) program is the cornerstone of the second year success retention initiative.” | Image Credit: Lincoln.edu

I think I went through most of them already. I participated in the campus’ first SYE Apprentice Program and my team won first place. I served as a member and the King of the NAACP. I was a band Manager for the Lincoln University Orange Crush Marching Band.

I sang all four years on the Lincoln University Concert Choir. I sang on the Men’s Glee Club. I also performed in three Operas (Treemonisha, Handsel and Gretel, and Kismet).

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Shannon being inducted into the Sigma Alpha Pi: National Society of Leadership and Success | Image Credit: Shannon Whitaker

I served as a student minister for the Mary Dod Brown Memorial Chapel. I was a member of the Boys to Men mentoring organization. I was inducted into Sigma Alpha Pi: National Society of Leadership and Success. My friends and I also founded a music organization called Music In Us, aka the M.I.U. Project.

What and where were the historical places on campus?

Whole campus is historic, it’s the first HBCU. The chapel has the most history. Everyone from Cornell West to Mary McCloud Bethune and Malcolm X to Einstein visited the Chapel. There is a hidden room underneath the chapel that local Quakers used to hide slaves as they escaped from the south on the Underground Railroad.

Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?

I have seen ghost on campus. Nothing to be scared of. I used to walk past buildings in the older section of campus the window blinds would move.

Also a few times I waked the campus I felt like someone was following me but I felt like I was being protected. (Sorry I have a strong sense of spirituality).

How many “firsts” did you have at college ? What were they? (e.g. first road trip, first job interview, first love, first “F or A”, etc.)

I received my first “F” in math at Lincoln. It blew my mind because in high school I was always in an advanced math class. On all of my standardize tests I took I placed in the high percentile or advance proficient scores.

My first professional performance singing was at Lincoln. As a music minor we were required to sing in a recital and perform in an Opera. I had my first real encounter with with my African roots and understanding of African Americans in the USA.

If you could speak to those family members that have risen but that live forever through you, what words would you speak?

I embrace my heritage because of the legacy you left behind. It took me while to realize the sacrifices made for me but, I understand it now.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

This country was built on the shoulders of strong black men and woman and so is your history. Do not be ignorant enough to believe the basics as the whole truth; do our own research to figure out what the whole story is.

When and how did you discover your passion in life?

Going into undergrad I knew I wanted to do something with children as far as mentoring or guidance. Going back to visit youths from my past neighborhood and seeing how they looked at me as role model.

That made me feel like I had done something to show little kings and queens that it’s possible.

After I graduated, one of my Lincoln Bros asked me to come speak to some of his students at Discovery Charter School in Philadelphia.

I saw how well prepared the students were. In middle school I had no idea about college, but going to that school and seeing those student passionate about their education impressed me.

Being there was not about me though, I was there to share with them things nobody had ever told me. It was a great chance to impact some children that want better form themselves.

How do you deal with racism if you encounter it?

I deal with racism everyday. Everyday my cultural, ethnicity, genetic make-up, geographical make-up, my history, the way I speak, my religious beliefs, and who I affiliate myself with socially gets profiled.

Growing up I was quiet and shy, I didn’t fight so I ignored the ignorant people. In high school, I grew into a person that took pride in who I was.

I started finding out things about myself and felt like I needed to defend who I was and what I did. I was always ready to argue my stance in life. One of my teachers told me “You don’t have to explain your life to anyone that has not impacted it!”

I never knew what he meant until a few years ago. I know who I am and I live in who I am; everyone will find something to oppress you.

The saying says “Actions speak louder than words,” so I just like to keep moving. Through my actions and work I show all my oppressors I can do more than they have stereotyped me as.

If it someone at work I try to explain my views not to make them change but to give them a new perspective. If its someone I don’t know I just pray that the next person they come in contact with doesn’t hurt them and that they grow in their racial mindset.

Whats your take on life (in the philosophical sense)?

Life is a journey leading us to live in the world collectively. We are not here to kill each other but to learn to live with each other. We are all created unique and are different from one another. Embrace your brothers and sisters for the good they do.

Point out their flaws but don’t hold them in judgment because you’ll never see their progress. Everyone has a story to share; if we take the time to stop and listen we would understand a lot more then we do.

Adding experience to what you know helps to retain knowledge and makes it more effective in practice.

Questions about making it through the rough times at college? Completing your college application? Respectfully contact Shannon today!

Social Networking Links: Facebook | InstaGram: Shan_angains
Email Address: Swhitaker89@ymail.com

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13th Nov2013

Shon Clark – Winston-Salem State University ’13

by Staff

Shon Clark takes us on a great journey about her triumphant years at Winston Salem State University.

From her favorite professor, to advice for high school kids, to the legacy of HBCU graduates in her family. There is much to enjoy  and keep with you as you live life. So read and take heed!

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Shon Clark proudly representing Winston-Salem State University | Image Credit: Shon Clark

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I choose a HBCU over a pwi because of the college experience… Football classics, homecoming , home Style cafe food etc. WSSU is a small HBCU.

I love the environment at WSSU the student professor ratio is small as well I can get that one on one help with a professor.

Where are you from? When you were younger who introduced you to the greatness that is HBCUs?

I’m from Roanoke Rapids NC (Country girl). My mom always encouraged us to go to college and education is key… She a graduate of Elizabeth City State University

Which professors at Winston-Salem State University left the most impression upon your academic and personal life?

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Show some love for Winston-Salem State University!! | Image Credit: Shon Clark

I became a student at WSSU by transferring from ECSU back in 2009… As a transfer student WSSU welcomed me with open arms.

Which professors at Winston-Salem State University left the most impression upon your academic and personal life?

The professors that had the most impression for me was Professor Cole Russing. My major was Mass Communication.  He really cares about the students there, he was the best in the department … He wrote me several of letters of recommendation for grad school.

What is the story of your “HBCU experience” at Winston-Salem State University?

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Become part of the WSSU Family! | Image Credit: Shon Clark

Overall my college experience was great … Of course I miss it… That’s why I try to come back for homecoming to see family, friends, old professor etc… WSSU motto is ” a Enter to learn, Depart to Serve” and that’s what I’m doing excited about the next phase of my life.

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Shon Clark at her graduation ceremony!! | Image Credit: Shon Clark

Also I graduated with honors with a 3.3 Cum Laude.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

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Shon Clark on Rams TV! | Image Credit: Shon Clark

My university prepared me well for the workplace … Back in school WSSU would have career fairs, grad school fairs, etc. Also mock interviews.

How did your HBCU help you to transition into your careers workforce?

Well definitely networking and give internship opportunities

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

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Shon Clark holding her 2013 RAMS Girls Rock Award | Image Credit: Shon Clark

My major was Mass Communications I love media … Because it’s make me happy my ultimate goal is to have my own production company in the future

How did you overcome your nervousness that first year?

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Shon taking part in a ceremony at WSSU | Image Credit: Shon Clark

Umm I got involved with campus organizations and started doing Community service.

What were the chants heard most often at sporting events?

The chants are “so hard to be a RAM” and “WSSU”

Best restaurants at or near campus?

Umm def Bojangles and Burger King McDonald lol fast food … We love Bojangles. We will get them 5 dollars meals lol

College crush?

I saw a lot eye candy at WSSU lol

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle?

To answers the first question my room lol I’m very private about my relationship or love life lol

How were you positively active on your college campus? What about in high school?

I was both active in high school and college … I played sports in high school … In college I took a different approach lol I didn’t play sports something I kinda regret.

What advice would you give high school students filling out college applications for the first time?

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Get out of your comfort zone and LIVE!! Embrace life!! | Image Credit: Shon Clark

The advice I would give high school students don’t be nervous about college def get out of your Comfort zone and try a HBCU… Where I’m from …Roanoke rapids nc the kids don’t get out and experience culture events

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

I want to be a role model for these kids and lets them know you can do it… I’m from a small small town and I did it!!!

 Questions about the WSSU Experience or applying to college? Respectfully contact Shon!

Via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coco.brown.75033

 

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07th Nov2013

Tiara Washington – Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) 2013

by Staff

Tiara Washington, a proud HBCU Alum of SUNO (Southern University at New Orleans) shares her experience, first time experiences, favorite professors and much more!! Take heed!!

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Proud HBCU Alum, Tiara Washington – Proud Graduate of Southern University at New Orleans | Image Credit: Tiara Washington

Where are you from? How did you first hear about HBCUs?

Louisiana born and bred.

As a child, I attended the Bayou Classic for many years. Through this annual football game between Southern University and Grambling University, I learned about HBCUs and the HBCU culture.

What made you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I started at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), but transferred to Tulane University because I felt Tulane had more to offer. However, once I arrived on Tulane’s campus, I felt like an ink spot in the crowd of pale faces. I could no longer share textbooks w/ friends, make copies of the chapters, and “rib” other students. The cost of Tulane’s tuition on my limited budget sent me back to SUNO.

How did you decide to become a student at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) ?

Many years ago, I traveled to a few HBCUs (Jackson State, Tuskegee, Alabama State, Clark-Atlanta, Norfolk State, and Hampton) for an HBCU college tour. When I stepped on the scene at Jackson State, I was ready to party. During the campus tour at Hampton, I was told students could not walk across the lawn, halter tops were not allowed in class, and students living on campus had to adhere to a curfew.

My rebellious spirit thought there’s no way I’m forking over loads of money for y’all to tell me what to do. Now that I’m an adult, I look back at that situation and realize Hampton was trying to provide structure and shape their students into becoming better young men and women.

When I finally started college, I was a 22-year-old, GED recipient — translation: I was a non-traditional student. Many universities in the New Orleans area had certain admissions criteria and as a GED recipient I didn’t meet the basic criteria.

My ACT and GED scores allowed me to start at SUNO and Grambling without needing to take remedial courses. Since my dad is anti-Grambling (he graduated from Southern in 1976) and SUNO is in my hometown, it was the perfect fit for me.

What professors at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) left the most impression upon you as a student and/or person? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

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Recognized for submitted proposals are: (standing, back row) Dr. Udeh, Dr. Tietzel, Dr. Hollis, (standing, middle row) Mrs. Washington-Edwards, Dr. Omojola, Dr. Kaltenbaugh, Dr. Adegboye, Mrs. Beaulieu, Dr. Jackson, Dr. Heon Kim, (front row) Dr. Elaasar, Mrs. Johnson, and Ms. Mims. Other awardees for the day included Dr. Lisa Mims-Devezin, Ms. Leatrice Latimore, Ms. Arkebia Matthews, Dr. Deborah Darby, Dr. Yu Jiang, Dr. Ronald Mancoske, Dr. Tchavdar Marinov, Dr. Mary Minter, Ms. Nina Muller-Schwarze, Dr. Joseph Olubadewo, Dr. Ibraham Ekaidi, Dr. Adnan Omar, Dr. Steven Welsh, Dr. Mary Vaughn, and Ms. Trichelle Harris. | All rights reserved by SUNOPR

Due to Hurricane Katrina, our campus was destroyed and the semester immediately after the hurricane, classes were held at a local middle school. My biology professor, Dr. Mims-Devezin, walked in class and told every student in the room that we had a difficult semester ahead of us, but we would get through it together.

Dr. Mims-Devezin didn’t treat us as ordinary students, we became her extended children and she expected greatness from each of us.

Dr. Helvie-Mason taught me how to communicate, not just in class and around campus, but how do do so in a way that would propel me to new dimensions in life.

What is the story of your “experience” to date at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?

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Gloria B. Moultrie,
Vice Chancellor for Community Outreach/University Advancement | Image Credit: suno.edu

Upon returning to SUNO, I had the opportunity to intern with the Vice Chancellor for Community Outreach/Univ Advancement. Shadowing Mrs. Moultrie (SUNO graduate ’67) allowed me the opportunity to understand the important history behind Southern University at New Orleans.

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?

I didn’t have a relationship while attending SUNO.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

My preparation came from my mentor, Mrs. Moultrie. Before meeting Mrs. Moultrie, I was ratchet and a hot ghetto mess – maybe not the hot ghetto mess, but certainly ratchet. I was the girl with the heels, the hair weave, crazy eyelashes, heavy eye shadow and an attitude to match.

Mrs. Moultrie wasn’t afraid to mold me into something better. I became open to seeking/receiving feedback. She taught me how to make a mark at work without becoming a mark. From our conversations, I learned to use judgment about what I wear, what I say and what I do.

How did your HBCU help you to transition into your careers workforce?

While at SUNO, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute. The TMCF experience allowed me to meet/interview with Fortune 500 companies, polish my interviewing skills and craft my elevator speech.

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?

I didn’t have a relationship while attending SUNO.

What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Which dishes did you enjoy the most?

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Old Gentilly “Spicy Kitchen” | Image Cred: urbanspoon.com

SUNO is a small university (for now), with just over 3,000 students. We don’t have any restaurants on campus. To get the best bang for my buck, I would hit up Spicy Kitchen. Their soulfood is sooo delicious.

What were the chants heard most often at the sporting events?

::beat, beat, beat:: SUNO, SUNO
::beat, beat, beat:: You Know, You Know (and the would repeat multiple times)

Who was your College crush?

No one. Actually, I was falling in love with myself. Is this vain of me to say?

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I was never nervous about attending college. In fact, my mom drilled it in my head that I would attend college.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

Initially, my plan was to major in journalism and continue on to law school to become a criminal prosecutor. During my enrollment process I was told SUNO had just lost accreditation for journalism and no new students could be admitted to the program. So I spent several semesters just “winging-it” until I decided to go with General Studies because most of my credits fit into that particular program.

What was your proudest moment @ Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO)?

Finishing undergrad!!!

What was your saddest moment @ Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO)?

My line sisters and I getting the boot Fall 2012.

What did you pledge? And why? And if not, why not?

Throughout my life it was “understood” that I would pledge a particular organization. For some reason, many students and administrators assumed I was greek. Fall 2012 I decided to pledge a different organization from the one others expected me to pledge. Unfortunately, the line turned out to be unauthorized and we were kicked off for hazing.

How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

Between Fall 2011 and Spring 2013, I managed to obtain in internship with the Vice Chancellor for Community Outreach and University Advancement, became the SGA Chief of Staff, then the SGA Vice President and I traveled to Minnesota, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Jersey, New York, Denver and Baltimore.

In addition, I was named Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities and was a Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute Scholar.

Where was the “yard” located?

The “yard” at SUNO consists of the green space in front of the cafeteria.

What and where were the historical places on campus?

The Administration Building. This was the first building on our campus in 1959 when the university opened. In 2012, the building was renamed to the Emmitt W. Bashful Administration Building. It’s named after our first chancellor.

How many “firsts” did you have at college ? What were they? (e.g. first road trip, first job interview, first love, first “F or A”, etc.)

First trip to Mexico. First road trip with friends. First Spring Break –> cruise to the Bahamas.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

1.     Be comfortable with who you are.

2.     You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. – Dr. Seuss

What situation in your life made you feel like you had arrived into woman or manhood?

Signing my first rental agreement along with paying my electricity bill, car note, insurance, taxes, and voting. All the crap I didn’t have to do while living with my mom.

What sports and/or extra curricular activities did you do in High School? And why?

I was lazy in high school and didn’t participate in much of anything except attending the dances.

What advice would you give high school students filling out college applications for the first time?

Follow your passion. If your ultimate goal is to become a scientist, social worker, artist, doctor, or whatever, attend a university with a strong program in your desired field and craft your work with excellence. Colin Powell once said, “Excellence is not the exception, it is a prevailing attitude.

How do you deal with racism if you encounter it?

Racism happens whether we see it or not and so does gravity. Gravity is meant to hold us down. But despite gravity, we hop on planes and build skyscrapers every day. I can’t control gravity no more than I can control my gender or the color of my skin.

Being a black American is who I am and if someone has an issue with that, it’s for them to deal with – not me. Black and white doesn’t matter if you understand green.

Whats your take on life (in the philosophical sense)?

Sometimes, you have to move laterally before you can move vertically.

College related questions? Respectfully contact Tiara using the contacts below!!

Social Networking Links (separate with commas): Twitter, LinkedIn
E: tiarayw2001@aol.com

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06th Aug2013

Kayla Love – Langston University ’13

by Staff

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Emerging Researchers National Conference Legend, Kayla Love shares with us her journey from Oakland, California to Langston, Oklahoma and the Prestigious Halls of Langston University.[/dropshadowbox]

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Ms. Love looking stunning as she progresses through her day! | Image Credit: Kayla Love

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

Whether it was a historically black college (HBCU) or a predominately white institution (pwi) I wanted to go somewhere that I would be taken care of. Langston University’s Department of Chemistry is a strong supporter of students who wish to exceed at the highest magnitude within the STEM fields. I’ve participated in internships at pwi’s and I often was the only student that was conducting research all year long and required to compete with my research at national levels. Transferring never even crossed my mind. Langston University (LU) was the place for me.

Where are you from? When you were younger who introduced you to the greatness that is HBCUs?

I am originally from Oakland California. A city plagued with gun violence, drugs, and prostitution. But even with that, Oakland is filled with passionate people who are active in improving the community.

In July 2009 I met James Mclemore who recently graduated from Langston University and he taught me about the opportunities that were available at HBCU’s. He said that it would not be easy but if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.

How did you decide to become a student at Langston University?

Scholarship

Feel free to elaborate…: In 2009 while working at Macys through a mutual friend I met James Mclemore from Richmond CA. He graduated from Langston and came home to celebrate with his family and asked me if I was in school. I explained to him my financial aid trouble that I was having and he provided me with information I needed to fix my financial aid and suggested that I attend Langston University.

I contacted the school and once accepted I put in a request to transfer my job. I called my dad the following day and told him that within a week I would be leaving to Oklahoma. I got on my first plane and never looked back.

Which professors at left the most impression upon your academic and personal life? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Dr. Matand, Dr.Coleman, Ms. Williams, and Dr. Lewis each impacted my life.I used to think that their expectations were too high and that they were inconsiderate of my academic obligations. They ultimately taught me that college is about learning to balance it all. The pressure is what made me work harder than I ever could of imagined.

What is the story of your “HBCU experience” at Langston University?

Before coming to Langston I set a goal that I will find every scholarship, program and any form of financial assistance there was to help me get through college. I did just that and found a job at Langston’s Department of Chemistry.

In addition to my studies I created Royal Aces, an organization that is dedicated to informing students about scholarships and programs on Langston’s campus. I started this organization because I understand the struggle of trying to make it with little support. Langston is home to many first generation college students like myself so if I could help in any way I was dedicated to do so.

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Click the image to visit the Royal Aces facebook page! | Image Credit: Royal Aces Organization

However, like a typical freshman I had fun and partied hard which resulted in a 2.3 gpa. I was satisfied because all I wanted to do was pass. I then met with my adviser Dr.Coleman who informed me about the Langston Integrated Network Program (LINC) which teaches students the skills they to the need to be successful in graduate school and covers students undergraduate tuition. That was all I needed to hear.

The following spring semester I earned a 3.7 gpa and was accepted into the LINC program. Now that I reached my academic security goal I felt like I was done. A few days before my summer vacation back to Oakland I was offered the opportunity to participate in a summer research opportunity at Langston’s Center for Biotechnology research under the Advisement of Dr. Matand.

My first thought was “Oh lord I am going to be stuck at Langston working on peanuts…this is going to be the worst summer ever!” It completely was the opposite; I learned so much about the fascinating field of biotechnology and even came in on the weekends to take care of the Arabidopsis plants that we were growing. To my excitement Dr. Matand offered me a 4 year internship position and played an important role in teaching me that my journey was more than about me but about the people around me and those who would follow.

The many of my friends returned back home after their freshman year but my close friend Mackeya Flenoy and I decided that regardless of who left we were going to graduate. Since then I have been fortunate to compete and win at national levels for my research presentations each year.

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Kayla (far right) enjoying the Emerging Researchers National Conference with the rest of her Langston University colleagues | Image Credit: Stemdigitalvillage.com

Most of all, it was such a great feeling to see so many other minorities competing with the same support from their HBCU’s. It was upon returning from my internship at the University of Arkansas that I discovered that one of my research projects at Langston – “Natural Rules for Arabidopsis Thaliana Pre-mRNA Splicing Site Selection” – had been published. This was indeed amazing, a definite highlight in my life! I was especially proud and humbled to accomplish being published as an undergraduate. The harder I worked the more publications I received. Once I set my mind to something I feel like it becomes my purpose.

Graduating from college was a major accomplishment for me and my family and I was committed to funding my education. I’ve been the recipient of more than 20 scholarships throughout my academic career. Not only did scholarships I earned help me to pay for my undergraduate career, but as a recipient I participated in programs that provided me with skills that I needed to be successful in my field of study.For my last semester I set 3 goals. Win every national/ local research competition, acceptance into Graduate School and receive all A’s. I did it.

2013 Emerging Reseachers National Conference Washington DC

2013 Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington DC | Image Credit: Kayla Love

A memorable moment I presented with my most recent research project and placed 1st in the nation at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington D.C. The title of this research was “The Conductivity of Perchlorate Brines on Mars”. The work was completed during my research internship at the University of Arkansas at Fayeteville, AR. I stayed up all night thinking of questions that the judges might ask and practicing my presentation with my advisor.

On presentation day I saw that the judges were not cutting any slack. They called my name next and I was calm and ready. After my presentation the judge smiled and asked “What graduate school are you going to?”.

This was a very humbling moment. Before coming to college I did not even know what graduate school was; so for someone to have that expectation based upon a presentation made me feel like I have no choice but to keep pushing forward and become somebody. At graduation I was the first student in the history of Langston University to receive the “Best of the Best” award for my accomplishments. At that moment I truly knew that my HBCU believed in me.

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Kayla celebrating her graduation after years of fun and hard work | Image Credit: Kayla Love

I’ve recently accepted the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Chemistry and to top it off I received a NSF OK LSAMP Bridge to Doctorate Fellowship to help fund my education. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter where you come from its all about your ability to push through the hard times and get to where you need to be. I have my struggles and I expect more obstacles to come but I know I am right around the corner from success.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

Langston taught me that we all come from different places but we share one common goal and that is to succeed. Langston taught me that the best way to communicate my ideas is to understand the people around me first in order to find a common ground.

How did your HBCU help you to transition into your careers workforce?

I will attend the University of Oklahoma in the fall and Langston has prepared me well. Langston taught me that when it gets tough and people tell you their is no hope you have to find a solution that will ultimately bring you closer to your goals. I am ready now more than ever and I thank Langston University for that.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

My major was Chemistry. I choose it because I was not strong in the field of science in high school. I wanted to challenge myself to exceed in a field that would allow me to impact the world.

How did you overcome your nervousness that first year?

I was nervous as can be but I told myself that I was not returning home without a degree so I had no choice but to overcome the fear of failing.

What were the chants heard most often at sporting events?

We are the lions! We don’t take no mess!

What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Favorite dishes?

WOW’s was the best restaurant it was a good place to run into friends and I enjoyed their chicken tenders when I was on the go.

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Chicken Tenders (with Honey Mustard) from the WOW Cafe & Wingery at Langston University | Image Credit: Wowcafe.com

Who was your college crush? Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle?

Ha! I’ll keep that to myself. He knows who he is. He is from Houston and will soon become a pilot.

How were you positively active on your college campus? What about in high school?

I was the founder of Royal Aces Student Support program, a tutor, and I participated in many community service projects.

What advice would you give high school students filling out college applications for the first time?

Make sure you are applying to an institution that makes you feel welcome and is dedicated to your success as much as you are.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

It doesn’t matter where you come from. At this moment you have to make the decision to achieve greatness against any opposing force.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Questions about finding Scholarships? Completing your college application? Respectfully, reach out to Kayla!

kaylalove8300[at]yahoo.com | Facebook IG: Oh_mylove_[/dropshadowbox]

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15th Jul2013

Randy Henley – Florida A&M University ’13

by Staff

Living proof that churches do so much more than just preach a sermon, Future Internationally-Known,  Sports and Entertainment attorney Randy Henley shares with us his HBCU experience at Florida A&M University.

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Future Sports and Entertainment attorney Randy Henley | Image Credit: Randy Henley

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Where are you from? How did you first hear about HBCUs?[/dropshadowbox]

I was born in Fort Lauderdale Fl but I was raised between Miami and Memphis Tennessee.

While in Memphis I attended Olivet Baptist Church and Melrose High school in the historic Orange Mound neighborhood. It was a combination of the two that exposed me to some phenomenal HBCU alum and the culture. I was intrigued.

What made you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

The idea that I could receive a comparable education and a cultural immersion experience that would show and expose me to a side of my people that I had not fully experienced or understood while growing up.

How did you decide to become a student at Florida A&M University?

FAMU has a rich and storied history here and abroad. Beyond that, the few Black male educators that I was fortunate to run across had walked these hallowed hills. We say “those who walk these hallowed hills must choose to give back to them.” I guess you can say I am a part of what they have given back to continue the legacy.

What professors at Florida A&M University left the most impression upon you as a student and/or person? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Are you trying to get me caught up in a case of bias? There are so many. Dr. Dana Dennard (article feat. Dr. Dennard / video below), Dr. Kinchlow, Dr. Carolyn Council,and the entire Psychology Department.

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Dr. Dennard educating the young mind of a student at FAMU | Image Credit: thefamuanonline.com

What is the story of your “experience” to date at Florida A&M University given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?

The best way to put it is to say in climbing this hill, there are things that you will need and things you will need to leave as you go along the path if you are to reach the zenith.

That simply means FAMU changed me from a boy with hopes and dreams into a man with plans and goals. I am now ready to make my mark on this great world.

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?

HA! I have this open air spot that overlooks the entire city with campus at your back. It’s pretty awesome but I’m as single as a lost dollar bill. Most people like the gazebos around campus.

Really, being on a hill provides nice views from most buildings and even certain open spaces on the ground. I see young couples enjoying these spots regularly and I have to laugh at memories.

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Coleman Library in the Early Evening | Img Credit: Rattlernation.blogspot.com/

What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Which dishes did you enjoy the most?

Olean’s! They have some pretty good soul food and Ms. Olean believes in piling your plate without emptying your pocket. Lindy’s is pretty good too.

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Baked chicken, green beans w/potatoes, Mac n cheese, greens, sweet cornbread muffin, red velvet cake !YUM!| Image Credit: Marie F. / Yelp

There are other places but, those are mostly chains that can be in any city.

What were the chants heard most often at the sporting events?

“Do you wanna be a (insert competition’s puny mascot)? Hell nah!” 2x “So what ya gonna do? Go to FAMU!”2x

Then there is the most ominous STRIKE. No words are needed. The hissing and the strike have a way of rousing the crowd more than any chant.

Who was your College crush?

Is this being recorded? I plead the fifth!

No, seriously… I was infatuated with my high school star for a long time. Beyond that, I wouldn’t call them crushes.

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I’m not sure I was ever really nervous. I’ve moved around so much in life that I never have a lasting problem with adjusting.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

Psychology. I wanted to understand the very foundation of humanity, the way the mind works. This foundation is used to understand all realms and all levels of interaction. [other Psychology majors]

What was your proudest moment @ Florida A&M University?

The day a freshman told me that he had been told to find me for guidance. It’s crazy how lost you think you are until someone asks you for advice that you can actually deliver.

What was your saddest moment @ Florida A&M University?

November 19, 2011. I’m an athletic trainer at my university, and I had just gotten back to my apartment here in Tallahassee since we got on the road immediately after the game. I was sitting and discussing the weekend with my brother.

We both happened to glance at Twitter at the same time and we saw it. “Rest in peace to FAMU’s fallen drum major” It read like a nightmare in text.

Sadly, many of us can’t honestly remember the culture of FAMU before Robert Champion lost his life. I knew that night FAMU would never be the same. I didn’t want it to. We needed to make major changes if FAMU would survive.

What did you pledge? And why? And if not, why not?

I didn’t. My level of interest was never sufficient for me to waste space in someone’s organization when I knew I’d never be a productive member.

It makes no sense to join an organization and not be productive.

How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

I may be the king of volunteers. I also worked as a peer sex health educator. I hated it at times but students began to call me the “condom man” because I was the guy to look for if you needed condoms, lube, dental dams, screenings, or just answers.

Where was the “yard” located?

The world renowned FAMU Set. The Set is actually a stretch of about 200 yards that spans the central portion of campus from between Lee Hall (administration) and the Quadrangle to Student Activities.

What and where were the historical places on campus?

ALL of the buildings. Many of our buildings are designated historical landmarks. There’s Coleman Library (affectionately called Club Coleman) which once housed the FAMU College of LAW before the state abruptly voted to close the program and divert funds to the neighboring PWI to start a law school.

The building I frequent most is Foote-Hilyer Administration Complex (FHAC) which houses the bulk of our administration offices, our clinic, and financial aid.

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FHAC on FAMUs Campus | Image Credit: Rattlernation.blogspot.com

Foote-Hilyer was initially opened to serve as the only hospital for people of color in northern Florida. The full-service hospital was owned and maintained by the university as a service to the community.

Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?

I was once asked if I believed the stray cats that roam campus could be the spirits of past university presidents that keep a constant watch over the university.

How many “firsts” did you have at college ? What were they? (e.g. first road trip, first job interview, first love, first “F or A”, etc.)

Jeez! I’ve had so many firsts since I arrived here. There was my first un-chaperoned road trip, my first job interview, my first job which had nothing to do with my first interview, and many more.

There were also the more illicit first time which include alcohol and other substances.

The funny thing is the idea that parents, faculty, and law enforcement have seen it a million times and know how to guide you beyond it even if they don’t intervene in a conventional manner.

If you could speak to those family members that have risen but that live forever through you, what words would you speak?

You paved the way and told me I could make it through. I half believed you but I had no clue how it would happen. Here I am now. I wish you were here. I understand that you were ready to move on to the next step. I know you see it all and that is what held me when things got shaky. Thank you.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

I was there and I made it. You’re there and you will make it too.

What situation in your life made you feel like you had arrived into manhood?

The day my mom called to ask if I needed anything as far as food and bills but I ended the call by telling her I was sending her some money for her bills and leisure.

When and how did you discover your passion in life?

I knew that I wanted to be an agent but never felt the power of that passion. Then I was standing on the sideline at the Florida Classic in 2010, my first year as an athletic trainer. In a span of four minutes the bands were battling as only two powerhouse bands can.

Beyond the bands though, there was the most spectacular collegiate game I’ve ever witnessed taking place on the field. The teams were fighting for true glory in the MEAC. Bethune was undefeated and FAMU was totally disrespecting that claim to fame.

They played ball in a way my high school coaches had described ball to me from years long before I came to exist. The feeling in that stadium could never truly be put into words. *I’ve attached the video of that exact span. If you listen to the announcer, you can hear exactly what was occurring on the field.

What sports and/or extra curricular activities did you do in High School? And why?

I was in SGA, peer counseling, marching band, orchestra, varsity football, and track & field.

How do you deal with racism if you encounter it?

I used to get angry. I’ve learned not to blame individuals for the ignorance they have inherited. It only requires my response if there is a political or physical significance.

Whats your take on life (in the philosophical sense)?

My life is barely a blip on the grand timeline of existence. I will live out loud and make the most of this short ride in an effort to have something positive that lasts long beyond me.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Have questions on how to become part of the FAMUly? Ask Randy![/dropshadowbox]

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