Hannah Burnell , Jackson State University- c/o 2016, History
Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs?*
I was born and raised in the central Mississippi area, more specifically the Ridgeland/Jackson areas. HBCUs are the entire reason I exist today. I have deep family HBCU history on both sides of my family evolving Jackson State University and Grambling State University.
“If I’m not laughing, I’m not me.”
Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?*
I originally didn’t really choose one over the other. I sort of just found myself at Jackson State, and as a result ended up falling in love with the university and the HBCU experience.
Hannah Servicing the Community as a (JSU) Tiger and a State Queen
What is the story of your "experience" at Your HBCU given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?*
My experience at JSU has been an interesting one. I’ve grown more and have gained a better understanding of what it means to be a Jacksonian woman. Our institution is held to a very high level in relations to how students and alumni are to conduct themselves.
"First time" experiences at your HBCU?*
A first time experience for my at JSU was really making friends. I had friends in high school but these were people that I had know from elementary or middle school or met through some one else.
Who are the professors that have impacted your life in and out of the classroom? How did they do that?*
The two professors that have really impacted my experience are Dr. Hilliard Lackey and Dr. Bonnie Gardner. They have literally stood with me every step of the way starting from high school to now. There is nothing I can’t ask from either one of them that they won’t do or advise me on.
Jackson State University
- Athletics: Jackson State University is a member of the NCAA Division I-FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) Southwestern Athletic Conference, commonly known as the SWAC. All SWAC sports are DI with Football being FCS. Currently, the university fields teams in men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, soccer, and bowling; women's volleyball; and men's football.
- Notable Alumni: Vivian Brown - Weather Channel meteorologist** Demarco Morgan - News anchor for WNBC in New York City** Percy Greene - Founded the Jackson Advocate newspaper, Mississippi's oldest black-owned newspaper** Cassandra Wilson - Jazz vocalist and musician** Willie Norwood - American Gospel singer, father and voice coach of R&B singers Brandy and Ray J** Cornell William Brooks - 1983 - Harvard trained lawyer that served as the 18th President and CEO of the NAACP** Tony Yarber - 2004 - Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi** Malcolm D. Jackson - CIO at Environmental Protection Agency during President Barack Obama administration. He is a Presidential Appointment** Shasta Averyhardt - 2008 - Professional golfer, 1st African-American woman to qualify for the LPGA Tour since 2001, and its fourth African-American woman member in the 60-year history of the tour** Marcus Benard - 2009 - Current NFL linebacker** Walter Payton - 1975 - Pro Football Hall of Fame running back; played entire career for the Chicago Bears** Karen Taylor - Played professionally in Europe, mother of Stanley Johnson** Michael Tinsley - 2006 - Track & Field sprinter** First Lady Michelle Obama - 2016 - First African-American to serve as First Lady of the United States. She was given an honorary doctorate from Jackson State University where she served as the keynote speaker for its 2016 Spring undergraduate commencement ceremony**
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