14th Jan2014

Lamar Allen – Fisk University 2016

by Staff

Detroit native, Lamar Allen of Fisk University (Class of 2016) shares his HBCU Experience, how he accessed thousands in scholarship money, and why he chose an HBCU.

Lamar Allen - Fisk University 2016

Lamar Allen of Fisk University (Class of 2016) | Image Credit: Lamar Allen

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I always wanted to attend an HBCU. During high school, I had been on two spring HBCU tours; touring some of the nation’s finest Historically black colleges and universities.

At one point, I was truly enthusiastic about attending an Ivy League school, but I chose to stick with my original educational plan; attend an HBCU for undergraduate studies, then strive to attend an Ivy League institution for graduate studies.

It was a decision that many disagreed with, but I then realized that I was the one living with my decision for the years to come. If I am happy with it, then that is all that matters.

What city are you from? Who introduced you to the greatness of HBCUs?

I am a native of Detroit, MI. Being a graduate of a high school flooded with staff who are HBCU alumni is what introduced me to HBCUs. Many of them graduated from top notch universities including Fisk University (#FiskFOREVER), Morehouse College, Tennessee State University, Central State University, Alabama State University, Hampton University, Tuskegee University, and so forth.

Seeing their HBCU pride and “play rivalry” with each other was just a hint of the HBCU greatness, but hearing how HBCUs made each of them stronger and unique in their own way gave me a look at how great HBCUs are.

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

Scholarship

Feel free to elaborate…

I applied to and was admitted into five HBCUs:

Johnson C. Smith University
Morehouse College
Fisk University
Tuskegee University
Philander Smith College

I narrowed my decision down to two schools contingent upon familiarity: Morehouse (my first choice), and Fisk. My goal was to not have to pay for college, so I played the “scholarship” game. Which ever institution awarded me the most money in scholarships, I would attend that institution.

Between both schools, Fisk offered me the most scholarships. I had won an approximate of $30,000 worth of scholarships from different organizations in Detroit, partnered with a $80,000 (over four years) scholarship award from Fisk. It was a true blessing. I am currently attending college free of cost with no loans attached, thanks to Fisk and various organizations in Detroit, MI.

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

All of my business professors leave a huge impression on me, simply because they are professors who truly care about enhancing students academically. Professor Cargill (Accounting), Professor Umontuen (Marketing), Professor Cambranero (Micro-Economics), and Professor McNamee (Business Law) all made sure that I had the tools necessary to succeed in their classes by lending a helping hand when needed, and directing me to resources that would help make me successful.

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

This is my first year at Fisk, so my story is currently in its beginning stage. I am definitely certain that as I grow and gain more experiences here on campus, my HBCU experience will be legendarily and uniquely crafted.

What is your major? Why did you choose it?

I am currently a business administration major. I always had an interest in business. The only problem I had was choosing a concentration. Since I was familiar with accounting, I chose to make accounting a concentration of mine. Although my accounting classes can be quite difficult at times, I tend to enjoy them.

This summer, I plan to intern with an accounting firm to get an actually feel for the field. That way, if I don’t like it, I will have time to switch my concentration.

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

Fisk is always providing students with opportunities, especially internships. Fisk faculty, staff, and alumni are always keeping the students informed on various internships that will prepare students for the specified occupations of their choice.

I am grateful to be a student at a university that continuously informs and provides students with opportunities that will enrich their future. There are faculty and alumni who know of my plan to intern at an accounting firm this summer. Ever since, they have kept me aware of opportunities to help make my goal possible.

How does your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

I was recently accepted into Fisk’s Exceptional Confidence in Emerging Leaders (EXCEL) Professional Development Program. This program is designed to prepare students professionally, guaranteeing that students will complete the program with refined professional skills, confidence, and adequate competencies.

Topics that we will cover in this program include personal branding, effective communication, business etiquette, etc. I am certain that after completing this ten week program, I will be prepared to work in a diverse workplace.

Where is the “yard” located?

The “yard” is located right in front of Jubilee and Spence Hall. It is actually where I experienced my first block party here on campus!

Where are the historical places on campus? Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?

Fisk University, Jubilee Hall

One of the most historical buildings on campus is Jubilee Hall, the freshmen female living learning center. I have heard stories from some of my classmates regarding ghosts in the dormitory, but very few.

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

There is a restaurant down Jefferson St. called Knock Out Wings. I love their chicken tenders, and they have some of the best biscuits I have ever tasted in my life!

There is also another restaurant named Jack’s BBQ. Their BBQ is delicious! They also have really great tasting sides and desserts to add zest to your meal.

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

I did not have many “firsts” last semester. However, the most exciting “first” was seeing an actual fraternity probate! It was seriously an exciting experience. From that moment, I began to feel the “HBCU experience” kick in.

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

Please, do not stress yourself out! I understand that the process can become tiring, especially if you are applying to more than one university. Trust and believe me, it all works out for the good.

Also, if you aren’t sure about something on the application, take great advantage of your high school counselor or contact someone in admissions department of the university in which you choose to apply. Either one of them should be more than wiling to provide insightful advice to help you complete your college applications. You are not alone!

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

I am a young man that believes in well roundedness. Top notch academics are beautiful, but a student who is academic, participates in extra-curricular activities, and contributes to the community by servicing is stellar. When I was in high school, I was very active.

I was the sergeant at arms for my school’s NHS Chapter, the Vice President of our Gentlemen’s Club, Senior Class President, and a member of many other organizations.

I also took dual enrollment during high school, gaining 29 college credits from both Wayne County Community College and Harvard University. Fisk accepted 25 of them, allowing me to advance to being a second semester sophomore this semester.

When I arrived to Fisk, my beliefs of being a well rounded student did not change. I am currently a member of various organizations on campus, including currently serving as freshmen class president of my class (elected before advancing to sophomore year). Although I am a sophomore credit wise, I am still a freshman at heart. I love my Class of 2017 family.

It is with my genuine and honest will to serve that allows me to act positively on campus, helping to enhance the college experience of my classmates.

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

“Keep God first, and keep your faith. Your trials may be difficult, but your blessings will be everlasting.”

Questions about Fisk University? Need help locating scholarships? Contact Lamar!!

Email: lamar.allen@my.fisk.edu
Social Networks: Facebook: Lamar Matthew Allen

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29th Dec2013

MacKenzie Milon – Fisk University – 2016

by Staff

From growing up near the hometown of legend Michael Jackson to leading her HBCUs’ volleyball team; MacKenzie Milon speaks on her Fisk University experience and how it all came to be. 

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Proud HBCU Student – Athlete, MacKenzie Milon of Fisk University (c/o ’16)| Image Credit: MacKenzie Milon

Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs back in the day?

I am from Merrillville, Indiana, which is a few minutes away from Michael Jackson’s hometown-Gary, Indiana, and an hour away from Chicago, Illinois. My mother briefly introduced me to HBCUs when I was first starting high school.

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I chose an HBCU over a pwi because of the historical reputation of academic excellence that many colleges and universities have.

No matter where I go, when adults ask me where I go to school and I tell them Fisk University, I don’t need to go into further detail about my HBCU because many already know the kind of education Fisk has to offer.

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

I decided to become a student at Fisk University for two reasons. I was recruited to play volleyball for Fisk University on a scholarship. The team had only been in existence for a few years and I wanted to be apart of a team that could build up the reputation of athletics at Fisk.

The other reason why I decided to go to Fisk University was because I knew that even if I was never able to play volleyball again, at least I would be at an university where I could grow not only academically but personally. I felt confident that once I graduated in four years that I would never have to worry about being hired for a job because I had ‘Fisk University’ on my resume.

What professors at Fisk University are leaving the most impression upon you as a person and student? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Although this person is not a professor at Fisk University, he works in the admissions building and is my assistant volleyball coach, Patrick Gonzalez. This year, 2013, was my first year I met him and I have learned so much from him in such a short period of time.

Not only does he inspire me on the volleyball court, but I can talk to him about anything outside of volleyball. He is a very intellectual individual, & I do consider him my mentor. He has taught me a lot about how I can become a better leader, which is what Fisk University also strives to build in each student that studies there.

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

Coming into Fisk University in 2012 my faith wasn’t as strong as it could be. I didn’t realize how having strong faith can get a person through tough times in their lives when sometimes you just can’t turn to anybody.

Surrounding myself which some wonderful group of friends, and going to church with them every Sunday, I was able to learn so much about my life, how to become a better friend and how having such a strong spiritual background can make all the difference when life doesn’t seem to go the way you planned.

Fisk University is also known for its strong religious background, and I felt that from my first year there.

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

Fisk University helps students make an easy transition into the workforce by making students aware of internships or different opportunities available depending on your specific major. Many times your counselor will email you and inform you of upcoming internships opportunities which is always helpful.

How does your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

One thing that I appreciate about Fisk University is that they are trying to diversify the campus more and more each year. I am seeing more races other than African Americans coming to the university, which not only helps students learn how to work with many different kinds of people but it also shows the outside world that Fisk University has more than African American students.

What are the best restaurants on and near the campus? Which dishes do you enjoy the most?

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After your visit to Fisk University, stop by Knockout Wings!! | Image Credit: Kim F. of Yelp

My favorite wing place that is walking distance from Fisk is called Knock Out wings. My favorite wings to get there are the honey barbecue wings with blue cheese, and the biscuits are AMAZING. They are more famous for their biscuits than anything.’

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

At the end of basketball games, if we know we already won with minutes left on the clock, students will pull out car keys, dorm keys, or any type of keys and chant “Beep beep beep! You better go start the bus!” to the other team until they walk off the court.

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I overcame my nervousness about going to college by continuing to tell myself ‘I can do this’. I made it this far (I graduated high school), this is just one more big step in life that I will conquer.

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

My major is psychology. I chose to study psychology because I love observing peoples behaviors and I have a curiosity of figuring out why people act the way they act.

What to date has been your proudest moment @  Fisk University?

My proudest moment at my HBCU took place this year when we, the Fisk volleyball team, became #1 in the Eastern Division of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, and placed third in the Conference tournament in Little Rock, AR.

What to date has been your saddest moment @  Fisk University?

My saddest moment at my HBCU was when my grandmother passed away. She passed away in the Fall of 2012, and I received the news right before a home volleyball game.

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

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MacKenzie Milon leading her team to victory at Fisk University | Image Credit: MacKenzie Milon

I am the captain on the Fisk University volleyball team.

Where is the “yard” located?

The “yard” is located right in front of Spence Hall, which is our dining hall.

What and where are the historical places on campus?

One of the most famous buildings on campus is Jubilee Hall which now holds all incoming freshman females. Jubilee Hall was built for the well-known 1871 Jubilee Singers.

Did you know that Henderson A. Johnson Gymnasium was named in honor of outstanding Fisk athlete, coach, dean of men and director of physical education. |Image Credit: hbcudigitallibrary.auctr.edu/

Did you know that Henderson A. Johnson Gymnasium was “named in honor of outstanding Fisk athlete, coach, dean of men and director of physical education.” |Image Credit: hbcudigitallibrary.auctr.edu/

Also, our only gymnasium on campus-Henderson A. Johnson gymnasium, is where Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke.

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

No

What is your process when you are going through a hardship that you have never faced before?

If I am facing a problem that I have never faces before I pray about it and called my mother, father, and depending on the situation, sometimes a coach.

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

The advice that I would give to student who are filling out college applications for the first time is before filling out an application for a school do your research.

Before applying to Fisk University I searched their academic rankings. Students should not worry about how big the school is or, how good their football team is, ect.

The only thing that matters in the end is your education, parents work long days and nights for the first 17 plus years of our lives so that we can hopefully go to college and get the best education we can, parents don’t pay thousands of dollars each year and semester so their children can party.

Questions about Fisk? About completing your college application? Respectfully contact MacKenzie below:

Facebook:  MacKenzie Milon, Instagram: _kenzierene
Email Address: mmilon94@att.net

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15th Dec2013

Mary (Mimi) Hernandez – Fisk University ’62

by Staff

Come learn about the HBCU Experience years ago with Mary (Mimi) Hernandez; A Proud Graduate of Fisk University, Class of 1962. There is a lot of wisdom to be had, so take heed!

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Proud HBCU Alum, Mary (Mimi) Hernandez of Fisk University 62 | Image Credit: Mary (Mimi) Hernandez

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I was planning to get married and my parents were ABSOLUTELY opposed, so my parents took me to Fisk (where many of their friends were employed) and enrolled me. However, I have to say several of my favorite relatives , family friends and teachers were graduates of Fisk.

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

I was born in Nashville, Tn. and because my father was a physician and in the Army during WWII, had lived in Tennessee, Arizona, Puerto Rico and Alabama by the time I was 14.

My maternal grandfather talked about his days at Tuskegee and how much he learned and enjoyed during his time there. He spoke of meeting Booker T. Washington. My aunt, cousins and family friends who attended Fisk spoke of the great education, faculty and friends that they received and made during their student years.

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

Family Legacy

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?

Aaron Douglas, Robert Hayden, Cerelle Warfield, John Cottin, William Dawson and so many more who taught me were ALWAYS expecting the very best from each of their students.

They knew your name as you crossed the yard, asked about family members they knew and/or had taught. So it was an extension of the family circle where excuses were NEVER accepted and your very best was ALWAYS expected.

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

My HBCU experience is one where doing your best was expected. It was striving to learn and applying that learning to life. It was about loyalty, love and support. I have classmates who are friends with whom I am in touch frequently even 50+ years after graduating from Fisk.

We reminisce about the past, talk about the present and ponder about the future.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

I was taught first by my family then by faculty that no matter where you are or what you are doing, you always do your best.

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

When I started working, I was never afraid to ask questions, although I often had to preface it by stating I was seeking clarification. When I made an error in judgement I accepted responsibility (and that was a surprise to supervisors).

One question I always asked potential staff members was “where do you want to be in 5 years and how can I help you get there?” This helped them understand I was there to mentor and guide them, not to judge adversely.

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

I applied as a Music major, enrolled as an English major and graduated as a Spanish and French major. I was bi-lingual because we had lived in Puerto Rico for 8 years and my parents wanted us to learn about his heritage as well as my maternal heritage.

How did you overcome your nervousness that first year?

Because a number of my friends were at Fisk I was not particularly nervous my first year in school. Also, having lived in different places, I was fairly comfortable meeting new people and making friends.

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

White’s for fish sandwiches, Mary’s for barbecue, Collier’s. Unfortunately, neither Collier’s nor White’s are open and the barbecue at Mary’s does not taste the same.

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

Not going there!

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

I was a member of a great high school sorority where service was stressed. I joined the Fisk Choir, Newman Club and eventually pledged my Sorority in college.

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

Be honest, make sure you describe coursework and activities in which you participated.

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

Be proud of who you are and strive to be the best. Be loyal to your undergraduate school, it helped you achieve your goals in life!

Questions about completing your college application? About interacting with your professors? Respectfully contact Mary!

Email: mnh1940@aol.com

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06th Dec2013

Ayo Thomas – Fisk University ’11

by Staff

Ayo Thomas, Proud Fisk University Alumnus (c/o ’11) takes us on a beautiful journey regarding her HBCU Experience. She speaks on the legacy of HBCUs in her family, how she was introduced to FiskU, common apps, and much more.

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Proud HBCU Alum & AKA, Ayo Thomas of Legendary Fisk University ’11 3

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

Born and raised in Detroit, MI. My parent’s went to the same HBCU (NCCU) as well as my aunts (Tuskegee, and U.DC) and my cousin (also U.DC)

What made you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

What made me choose an HBCU, Fisk specifically was an opportunity I had to sit in on an the Detroit Fisk Alumni meeting. It was summer after senior year, and I thought I had already made up my mind.

There was an older gentleman who heard I had applied to Fisk, where he had graduated from in the 50’s, and he took me under his wing. He made sure that I was at this meeting. To date, I have never heard a group of alum of ANY school (PWI, HBCU, or otherwise) speak about their Alma Mater the way I hear people talk about Fisk after their experience there. I knew after that day, that Fisk is where I wanted to be.

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

I think I probably answered this question in my story above. Outside of the application process. That was my deciding factor.

What professors at Fisk 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?

Hm…..Because Fisk is so small I typically had the same professors year after year. I have a love and appreciation for each of the individually AND collectively.

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“Fisk’s Isaac Thompson Nominated as Finalist for 2009 Cable Leaders in Learning Award” | Image Credit: fiskuniversity.wordpress.com

But…. I think that if I had to pinpoint a particular member of the Fisk staff that left the most impression it would be Mr. Isaac Thompson. He’s been a surrogate father, mentor, advisor. He’s amazing! everyone should have the opportunity to build a relationship with someone like him. Especially during “the college years”

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

My experience was GREAT. I was proactive in making sure that whatever type of experience I wanted to have during my four years, I had it. I was active, involved, truly having a Fisk experience, and enjoyed every minute of it!

This doesn’t mean it was always happy, nor fun. But it was Fisk. I truly LOVE my alma mater and everything that means about my life over an entire matriculation.The individual stories, which are probably more interesting, are better for conversation. They take time.

How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

Fisk helped me to see that diversity really has nothing to do with skin color, contrary to popular misconception. Fisk allowed be to be aware of the differences rooted in race, but to focus more on differences of personality, culture, belief system, nationality, etc…

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

Fisk helped me to transition into the workforce by emphasizing the importance of critical thinking,balancing that capability with a polished delivery, and a receptiveness to ideas outside of my own.

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

People went to their rooms or their houses! lol. But there are some nice spots around Nashville like Centennial Park and “top of Nashville”, those were some nice spots.

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

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“Cupcakes & Icings Made Fresh Daily Minus Unnecessary Artificiality” | Image Credit: facebook.com

Knockout wings! Definitely. Monell’s, The Garden Brunch Cafe, and Cupcake Collection (even though it’s not quite a restaurant). I mean there are other restaurants, with good food. But these 4 were a staple.

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

“people in the front!” and “do it, do it, do it, do it, do it” or….”FIS-K UNI-VERS-ITY…Fisk Forever” There were so more but those were the main ones, I think.

Who was your College crush?: LOL! Oh goodness…. Who I was interested in changed based on my mindset over the years.

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I overcame the nervousness of college, by going to college. LOL. If i spent my time waiting until I was ready to go. I’d probably still be waiting.

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

My major was Business Administration concentrating in International Business Relations. I chose that because I love the idea of international travel, and because it helps to give me a great foundation for my greater career goals.

What was your proudest moment @ Fisk University ?

My proudest moment? That’s a difficult one, there are so many.

Probably graduation because it was the culmination of years of experiences that brought me into adulthood. I love Fisk, but graduation symbolized moving into a new part of my life, everything that seemed separate, was connected and it had made me who I was, and I was ready to go forward.

What was your saddest moment @ Fisk University ?

My saddest moment, was…… probably seeing my friends deal with grief and heartache. That kind of thing makes me sad. I had my own situations and circumstances, but that kind of thing will put minor issues into perspective.

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

I am a Spring 11 initiate of The FINE Pi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Why?

Because there was no other way. I knew what Alpha Kappa Alpha meant to me as far as womanhood, being a lady, my life and I knew what Fine Pi represented. I knew that is where I belonged, thankfully someone else saw it possible.

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

I was VERY involved on campus. In retrospect, I probably could have done a few less things and then had more impact in a couple of concentrated areas instead.

I was on Ladies of R.A.G.E. dance team. Women of Perfection service organization. Student Ambassadors, served on a few campus even committees, Miss Black and Gold court, Program volunteer, and many other things over my 4 years.

Where was the “yard” located?

The yard was in the center of campus. Our campus is shaped like an ankh with dorms on both ends the “neutral ground”, if you will, was the yard.

What and where were the historical places on campus?

Our whole campus is history, literally. I could talk about the buildings like Jubilee Hall or the Memorial Chapel, but it really would not do our campus justice. Every time you meet an alum who was on campus before you. History. Convocations. History.

The experience of Fisk, is history. Whether we were making it, living it or hearing about it. It literally was all around us.

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

They said Jubilee was haunted with the ghost of Ella Shepard (the Jubilee Singer) and we used to hear stories of the underground tunnels and the chapel. But I never had any first hand experiences.

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 think I had a whole LOT of firsts…. I was in college from 17-21. There’s not enough time to talk about all of the “firsts” I had a Fisk.

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

I probably would listen.

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

If I could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after me I would say define yourself based on a grounded value system, and that life goes on. I feel like we get caught up on too much of the stimuli that we have access to that we forget what life is really about.

Also, we really take things hard and can be very critical but truthfully, life goes on. Focus on the positives instead of the shortcomings, things will be ok.

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

Going back home to visit after I had been in school made me feel like I was arriving at womanhood, just because I could feel the difference in making my own decisions and my mom’s rules and guidelines and governing myself accordingly.

When and how did you discover your passion in life?

I think everyone inherently knows their passion. It’s in our spirit. As far as recognizing it, I think I’m still working on that one.

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

In high school, I danced, danced, danced. And YMCA minority achievers. I really tried to stay self contained. lol

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

I would say look at the common apps! Saves you money and allows you to apply to a whole lot of schools, nothing wrong with options.

How do you deal with racism if you encounter it?

If, when I encounter prejudice of any kind. I continue to be who I am in hopes that the other parties may feel change based on our interactions. I don’t believe that prejudice is at any doing of the person on the receiving end but the deliverer. My goal is not to correct them in the literal since but show them understanding and familiarity where there is none could show the haste and ignorance in their judgement.

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

I think that life is about balance. Everything is connected so if we apply the most fundamental understanding of how the world works, and we respect the natural order of the world and nature, things will be good.

Questions about completing a common app? Applying to Fisk University? Respectfully contact Ayo!

Email Address: Thomasa89@gmail.com

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21st Aug2013

Richard Clark – Fisk University ’16

by Staff

Former member of the Fisk University Student Ambassadors and Psychology major Richard Clark shares his Fisk University experience.

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Scholarly student and Great Person, Richard Clark; Enjoy his words of wisdom | Image Credit: Richard Clark

Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs back in the day?

I’m from Nashville, TN by way of Chicago, IL. My mom introduced me to HBCUs back when she started attending Fisk University.

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I chose an HBCU because I felt that it was important that I grow within a community of like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds who could relate to my story and we could have bonding experiences about our culture.

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

I decided to become a student at my HBCU because I saw what it did for my mom and her career and I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. Something that had a growing legacy. Something like Fisk.

What professors at Fisk University are leaving the most impression upon you as a person and student? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Right now, my psychology professors are leaving the biggest impressions on me because they are challenging my thought processes and how I take in information.

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

My experience to date has been memorable, but it has not been without its own trials and tribulations. But the good times outweigh the troubled ones so I tend to look back on my experiences (so far) with a smile.

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

It helps me transition into the workforce by helping prepare me for interviews, helping me with resumes and cover letters, and making sure that I am properly dressed for success.

How does your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

My school helps prepare me for a diverse workplace by exposing me to a diverse student body. Just because we are a HBCU does not mean we are all one race.

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

We have a student lounge and a movie theater that you guys could have some alone time together. Also, there are a few other places on campus, but it’s better to find them on your own.

What are the best restaurants on and near the campus? Which dishes do you enjoy the most?

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Knockout Wings in Nashville, Tennessee; Best Sweet Tea in the South | Image Credit: Richard Clark

There is a local restaurant a couple blocks away from the campus called Knock Out Wings. They serve the BEST sweet tea in the south and they have some of the greatest honey glazed biscuits I’ve ever tasted.

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

The chants most heard at sporting events here are probably “Do it” and our special Fisk chants.

Who is your College crush?

My college crush is someone I’m very close to.

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I never really had any nervousness about going to college. I was just really excited to get everything started. I think I really embraced going to college.

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

My major is Psychology. I chose it because I like working with people and I love listening to people’s problems and helping them find answers for them. (Meet other Psychology majors)

What to date has been your proudest moment @ Fisk University?

My proudest moment at my HBCU has been when we had Scholar’s Weekend and I got to show our prospective freshman the campus and show them why I love my HBCU so much.

What to date has been your saddest moment @ Fisk University?

My saddest moment has been watching people with so much potential, squander it on something that will do nothing for them.

What are you pledging? And why? And if not, why not?

I do not know if I am going to pledge or not

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

I was involved with the Spirit Squad we have here on campus and I was a member of the Fisk University Student Ambassadors.

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2012-13 Spirit Squad of Fisk University | Image Credit: Scott Wallace via iHigh.com

Where is the “yard” located?

The Yard is located in the center of our campus, right outside of the cafeteria.

What and where are the historical places on campus?

There are entirely too many to list here but one of the main ones is Jubilee Hall, which is located to the right of the cafeteria.

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

Always. But you would have to be here to find out what they are.

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

I lost track after the first 30….

Describe a situation from your life where this proverb came to life or occurred “The person who grew up without correction will find his mouth slipping instead of his foot.”

I don’t think I’ve come to it yet

What is your process when you are going through a hardship that you have never faced before?

I usually try to make the most rational decision and get some counsel from a few trusted people.

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

Turn in things early!!! And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Visit the campus and make sure you know what you’re paying for.

Keep your eye on the prize and don’t lose focus.

Questions about Fisk University? Getting involved in campus life? Ask Richard!

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest – clarkrichard28

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20th Aug2013

Lannie Smith – Fisk University ’14

by Staff

Born into the HBCU Legacy, happily married man Lannie Smith shares his Fisk University Experience.

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Proud representative of Fisk University, Lannie Smith | Image Credit: Lannie Smith

Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs back in the day?

I was born and reared in Nashville,Tn. My mother graduated from Tennessee State University. From attending the various events such as homecoming and the TSU parade that is how I was introduced to HBCUs back in the day.

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I did not even attempt to apply to an pwi. It was by choice of why I did not. I wanted to have the hbcu experience.

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

After attending Fisk Mini College Program (Summer Enrichment Camp 5-12 years olds) , under direction of the late Beth Madison Howse, in 2004. That camp left me inspired to attend Fisk.

I loved the professors and the beautiful campus at a young age just from attending the program. My senior year of high school while applying for schools and I decided to apply to Fisk from visiting a booth at the college expo.

I was also given the opportunity to stay on campus for prospect weekend in November of 2009 during homecoming. I saw all the students, campus life, and the family vibe. I knew this was the place just for me. That is why I chose Fisk.

What professors at Fisk University are leaving the most impression upon you as a person and student? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

While attending Fisk Mini College Dr. Reavis Mitchell was one of my professors and he currently is. While in mini college he always stated,”he hopes to still be living once we become bright Fiskites.” By the grace of God he is still here.

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

Yes, Fisk a prestigious institution full of the most multi-liberal talented student’s. Moreover for my experience I got to become a well recognized student leader and most of all on the campus of Fisk University I got to know Jesus Christ for myself.

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

Through its service learning, internships, and work study opportunities my HBCU helps me with that transitions.

How does your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?

My HBCU is not as diverse as I would like for it to be. However we have a diversity. I tend to work well with all groups of people.

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

Im not sure if I should share this (just joking). While dating most couples go to the steps behind Cravath Hall.

What are the best restaurants on and near the campus? Which dishes do you enjoy the most?

Knock Out Wings & Sonic. The biscuits from knock out wings are great.

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

FIS-KUNI-VERS-ITY FISK FOREVER! Alma Mater is not a chant but at the end of every sporting event it is sung.

Who is your College crush?

I am married to my High School Sweetheart, Lucinda.

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Lannie enjoying his wedding day with his bride | Image Credit: Lannie Smith & Facebook.com

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

This is a great question. During the summer before my first semester. I went to talk to Ms. Campbell in the office of Admissions. I was over there too nervous about the college courses. She gave me advice and told me I will do just fine. I left there empowered and encouraged.

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

I am sociology major. I chose this major because this was the closet major to social work that Fisk offered.

What to date has been your proudest moment @ Fisk University?

I must say my proudest moment was in March 2011. I was elected sophomore class president.

What to date has been your saddest moment @ Fisk University?

The passing of Ms.Beth Madison Howse.

What are you pledging? And why? And if not, why not?

In this season I chose not to pledge.

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

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C100 Bros making Fisk University proud! | Image Credit: Lannie Smith

I have always been involved with student government. I am a proud member of Collegiate 100. Outside the walls of my school I am always representing and promoting Fisk to the best of my ability.

Where is the “yard” located?

The “yard” is located in the center and most common usuage part of campus.

What and where are the historical places on campus?

Our entire campus is historic. Most of our buildings are listed under the historic listing site for the state of Tennessee.

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

There are no ghost stories that I know of.

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

Being actively involved with SGA, buying text books, walmart trips 2am in the morning, member of all male organization, and community tutor was my “firsts” at college.

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Mr. Smith taking part in a community based project with Tennessee State University | Image Credit: Lannie Smith

Describe a situation from your life where this proverb came to life or occurred “The person who grew up without correction will find his mouth slipping instead of his foot.”

We fall down but we get up. We have to get up sooner we cant keep on letting ourselves marinate in our own mess.

What is your process when you are going through a hardship that you have never faced before?

I just pray!

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

Don’t forget about Fisk when applying for college applications. Also if you don’t have a good gpa still apply. Just apply you will be surprised that the kind of doors he will open. If he did it for me he can do the same and more for you.

Any questions about Fisk? Or how you can get involved with the campus life. Respectfully contact Lannie!

Email: Fisk.lannie@gmail.com

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10th Aug2013

Mariah Ragland – Fisk University ’16

by Staff

Mariah Ragland aka DJ Kollapse spends some time with us and tells us how her journey to Fisk University all began.

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Socialite, FiskU Student, and Talented Turntable Artist Mariah Ragland | Image Credit: Mariah Ragland

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

Since pre-school, I have always attended a predominately black school because they were the schools in my community. I grew up with the same kids that knew me my whole life.

Leaving everyone for college, I wanted to make sure that even though I would be alone (in Nashville from Knoxville) that I wouldn’t feel alone, or like a minority. Going to a majority black school was familiar to me and while I branched out to another community, another city, it still felt like home.

What city are you from? Who introduced you to the greatness of HBCUs?

Knoxville, TN

My school took the junior and senior students on a college tour to about 5 HBCUs in the south. That was the second college tour I’d ever taken and the first was an HBCU college tour also.

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

Scholarship

Feel free to elaborate…: At Fisk, we always say that WE don’t choose FISK , FISK chooses US! I had my mind set on Clark ATL University, but a few events happened that ultimately led me to FIsk. They were unexplainable but one event, I was supposed to take a test to determine if I would get a full ride to CAU but the morning of the test, my alarm clock didnt go off. Everything happens for a reason! And that statement is most definitely true.

Upon entering Fisk last year, my freshman year, I have been offered so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have got anywhere else. Those opportunities include, earning my own radio show on 88.1FM WFSK in Nashville, DJ for all of the sport events, and an all around great experience.

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R&B Legendary singer and songwriter Jeffrey Osborne visiting WFSK FM | Image Credit: wfskfm.org

I came in with a $10,000 scholarship to attend the school and was granted work-study!

I am so glad Fisk chose me!

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

All of my business management professors are leaving quite the impact, Professor Umontuen especially.

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Winners at the Research Symposium 2013 (Professor Nicholas Umontuen on the left) | Image Credit: Fisk.edu

He is my academic advisor and teaches courses in Business communication. He takes the time out to help me figure out what I need to get done to get me where I need to go and I respect that!

What is the story of your “HBCU experience”?

The story of my HBCU experience begins with a few phrases, strolling and partying on the yard, intellectual debates, black pride, cultural enrichment, and my favorite, Soul Food Wednesdays!

How does Fisk University help you to transition into your careers workforce?

Fisk University keeps the students updated with potential internships all the time. We also have seminars and lectures happening around campus all time for whatever major we have. We are also ready to enter the workforce with appropriate dress-code because Fisk most definitely sets the standard on dress-code and appropriate conduct.

How does Fisk University prepare you for a diverse workplace?

While I do attend an HBCU, it is one with other races also, including white, hispanic, and many others. We also work with other schools to learn diversity, which I will elaborate further later in the interview.

Where is the “yard” located?

The middle of the beautiful campus! The yard is the heart of our campus.

Where are the historical places on campus? Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?

Jubilee Hall is the most historic building on campus named after the famous Jubilee Singers who toured the world, including singing for Queen Victoria in Europe, in 1871.The proceeds from the tour allowed construction of the building.

It is the first permanent erected in the south for the education of Blacks.

Fisk University’s Jubilee Hall History, Dr. Reavis Mitchell from African American Registry on Vimeo.

Today, it serves as the dorm-hall for Freshman girls. Inside the dormitory is one of three elegant rooms, The Appleton room, which features a large painting given to the University by Queen Victoria and a 14th-century ceiling from the Castle Polheim in Austria.

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

Fisk University has a place to eat when students don’t want ordinary cafe food. They can eat in the school’s subshop, which serves hot foods such as turkey burgers, chicken phillys, hamburgers, blackbean veggie burgers, delicious fries and more!

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

First road trip to Wisconsin! The trip was completely; a few students and I stayed at Ripon college for the weekend. Ripon is a predominantly white institution and every other year we go there and stay in there dorms and hang with their students to bring diversity to their campus. They also travel to Fisk every other year that we don’t visit. The experience was very exciting and I would go back any time!

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

Fill them out completely ! Apply to schools that aren’t even in your top 5 of attending because you’ll never know what schools want you more than you want them, those are the schools that could offer scholarships. Those are also the schools you’ll grow to love the most!

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

I DJ all of the sport events: volleyball, basketball and anything else indoor. I also DJ other events like campaign week and parties that happen throughout the year.

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DJ Kollapse aka Mariah Ragland, devoted Fisk University student and talented DJ! | Image Credit: Mariah Ragland

I’m on the school’s radio station every Sunday at 6pm central hosting my show, The KO Show playing music from Movie Soundtracks and new hip hop and R&B for college students.

In High School I was the Class and Student Body President and also President of Lady Esquires Jr. Sorority.

I was an AKA Debutante and I volunteered in my community every chance I got. And of course, I was still DJing frequently as Miss DJ Kollapse.

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Mariah having a great time with her family at the AKA Debutante Ball 2012 | Image Credit: Mariah Ragland

I was also on the Fisk University’s Ladies Of RAGE dance team for the first semester of the year.

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

There will always be parties to attend so don’t let them become a distraction. Be open to NEW opportunities, new people and keep your focus on the main goal, even if it might change !

Questions about Fisk University campus life? Completing your college application? Ask Mariah!

Email: mariah.ragland[AT]my.fisk.edu
@missdj_kollapse – instagram
@fiskfaces – instagram
diskjockey kollapse- facebook
Online Business: www.kollapse.wix.com/party

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