Jocelyn Chavis, Shaw University- c/o 2005, Mass Communications
Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs?*
I’m from Philadelphia, PA. I knew about HBCUs all my life. I come from a household where education was everything.
Historic Estey Hall; Image Credit: wikimedia.org
Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?*
Funny thing is I started at a PWI and transferred to an HBCU. Although I gained a lot at the PWI. My experience at an HBCU definitely defined who I am today.
After attending a PWI I didn’t feel nurtured at all. I had received a HBCU guide that Ebony Magazine produced and something about Shaw University stood out to me. So I applied.
What is the story of your "experience" at Your HBCU given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?*
First and foremost I am a graduate of Shaw University the oldest HBCU in the South.
From us came many.
When I got to that school I was not impressed but when I met the people it was a feeling that you get when you are with family. I served in so many roles from Miss UNCF, Pre-Alumni Council, Student Development Leader, radio, and newspaper. As with anything it’s all in what you make it.
"First time" experiences at your HBCU?*
I got to Shaw pretty well rounded. I did get my first car thanks to that good refund check.
Who are the professors that have impacted your life in and out of the classroom? How did they do that?*
Ms. Lowe my Mass Communications teacher was EVERYTHING. She was a petite woman but carried a mean punch. I had her at 8 am and she would not let you in the door at 8:01. She taught us professionalism early on in the game and it’s carried me so far in life. I appreciate her so much for that. Her expectations were high so you aimed higher to get the best results.
The Epitome of Wisdom and Beauty | Image Credit: Cobi Media
What sports and/or extra curricular activities did you do in High School? And why?
I was in everything Drill team, photography, Student Government. Pick something. I learned early on in the game to get involved. When you do you have power to get your voice heard.
Best restaurants on/near campus? Best dishes?
Now Shaw is in the heart of the city. So we had McDonald’s for a quick bite, Larry’s down the street for some soul food (above), and Angelo’s for Italian food. But my favorite was Greenshields they brewed their own beer but I went for the fish.
LOL too many to name. But my main crush became my oldest daughter’s father. Shout out to Jay aka Hov.
Ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?
Not that I was aware of.
What is your major? and Why did you choose it?
My major was Mass Communications and English. I picked that major because I always wanted to work in the entertainment field in some capacity. English because I enjoyed writing.
What to date has been your proudest moment @ Your HBCU?
Walking across that stage at graduation having my parents front and center and my baby girl. Yes I got pregnant in college and I finished. It might not have been with my class but I still walked and loved every moment.
Where are the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?
LOL! Now Shaw University is a Baptist college so when I got the acceptance letter there was also a list of things you won’t be doing and public affection was one of them. However there was the “Yard” which is now called the “Quad” and if you were grown like me I had an apartment.
What are the chants heard most often at the sporting events?
Shaw U Motherf-a! (I know so in appropriate) or Shaw U Hey and F-K St. Aug. LOL
How are you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)
This was answered in a previous question.
Where is the “yard” located?
Shaw is a small campus so it was located in the center of the campus in between the old dorms and cafeteria.
What and where are the historical places on campus?
Estey Hall was located across the bridge. Shaw is filled with history.
What to date has been your saddest moment at your HBCU?
It’s something I never really talk about but not being able to finish a process I started.
What situation in your life made you feel like you had arrived into woman/manhood?
I just had the revelation sitting at my laptop and realized I’m not a kid anymore. I’m married with 2 children. A business owner, a mortgage and real deal bills. I’m such a woman.
How do you deal with racism when you encounter it?
Going to school in the south I was called a nigger by a group of white men. It didn’t bother me. The not so in your face racism is what hurt me the most. It’s the people in the office that make backhanded compliments or subtleties that bother me.
What's your take on love (in the philosophical sense)?
I’d rather fail than to never have tried.
When and how did you discover your passion in life?
I never knew how alive I could feel until I sat behind the boards at a radio station and was doing my thing. I work in education currently and it just doesn’t give me that same zest. So I started my company The J Agency in order to keep my communication chops fresh.
My love for communications and education has lead me to joint ventures. The J Agency Media Group and a non-profit, Motivating Others to Reach Excellence Through Education (M.O.R.E).
How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?
I was never nervous about going. When I graduated from high school I was packed and ready to hit it. I think because I went on a recruitment trip I couldn’t wait to get back to that life.
If you could speak to those family members that have risen but that live forever through you, what words would you speak?
My grandmothers had both passed on years before but I would have to say look we can add another college graduate to the legacy. I would thank them for their strength and the blood line for me to carry on.
How did your HBCU prepare you for a diverse workplace?
I think that experience taught me I was walking in with 2 strikes I am a woman and black. I had to do more than my white counterparts to even be considered on even playing field.
What advice would you give high school students filling out college applications for the first time?
To apply to schools you really have no interest in attending. Do what feels right for what you want to do.
If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?
College is all about what you make it. If you stay in your room all day and sleep you will miss out on so many opportunities to meet some awesome people who you will need in the future.
Are you a member of a sorority?
The organization got suspended and did not return until about 4 years ago. Linked to my saddest moment.
How did your HBCU help you to transition into your careers workforce?
The good thing for me is I interned at a radio station and I worked for the television station while in school. I had a plan and took the books to get me in the door but my drive kept me in the building.
- Athletics: Shaw University is a member and co-founder of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Conference. Shaw University's Basketball team participates in the CIAA annual Basketball Tournament, which is the third most attended athletic event in collegiate sports after the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East tournaments. Shaw fields 14 varsity athletic teams including teams in men's basketball, women's basketball, football, tennis, baseball, cheerleading, men's and women's track and field, volleyball, golf, and bowling.
- Notable Alumni: Gladys Knight - 1966 - Singer, Gladys Knight & the Pips, received Honorary Doctorate** Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., D.D. - 1934 - Congressman from New York, 1945–71** Lee Johnson - 1975 - President & CEO of Mechanics & Farmers Bank** Shelia P. Moses - 1983 - Best selling author, nominated for the National Book Award & NAACP Image Award** Eleanor Nunn, Ph.D. - Civil rights activist (one of founders of SNCC) and educator, North Carolina State University** M. T. Pope - 1886 - Prominent physician in Raleigh; ran for mayor in 1919. His home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a museum** Edawn Coughman - 2010 - Offensive Lineman and OT for the Buffalo Bills** William Gaston Pearson - 1886 - Educator and businessman, co-founder of Mechanics & Farmers Bank, an African-American Bank in Raleigh, North Carolina**
- Click here to view on Wikipedia