Kanisha Hall, Howard University- c/o 2008, Medicine
Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs?*
I was born and raised in Shreveport, LA. In my family we have a mixture of Southern and Grambling University Alumni. These two HBCUs have one of the longest living rivalries in the state. Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving the two football teams battle it out at the SuperDome in New Orleans. This event has made for great family fun and tradition.
Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?*
I chose Howard University for medical school because i wanted to be trained by the best. I had the opportunity to learn from true medical legends. Dr. Wayne Fredericks, who now serves as the university president, mentored me. The first black female president for the American College of Pediatrics was my professor. I sat in lectures with the infamous Dr. laSalle Leffall Jr. I could go on and on. I had access do these brilliant minds on the regular.
What is the story of your "experience" at Your HBCU given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?*
As a black female physician I make up less that 6% of practicing physicians and less than 3% of my specialty, Anesthesiology. At Howard University, I learned more than medicine. I learned persistence. It was constantly drilled into my consciousness that only excellence, even in the midst of adversity, would be tolerated.
"First time" experiences at your HBCU?*
I remember my interview for medical school with Dr. Leslie Stiff-Jones. This ophthalmologist conducted my interview, but it didn’t stop there. Dr Jones made it her business to make herself available throughout my entire matriculation at Howard. She encouraged me with her words. Most importantly she led by example. Always beautiful, well spoken and confident.
Who are the professors that have impacted your life in and out of the classroom? How did they do that?*
Dr. Debra Ford, a very renown ColoRectal Surgeon, was another mentor. This gorgeous lady was and is a perfect example of excellence in the midst of adversity. To be Black and Female and dominate a predominantly white male occupation of surgery is more than noteworthy.
However i most admired her mastery of the balancing act of wife, mother, and physician. She is still an inspiration for me today. That sense of family and mentorship is another attribute i am so grateful for at the very moment in life.
- Athletics: Howard University competes in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Howard University offers Basketball, Cross Country, Bowling, Football, Soccer, Lacrosse, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Softball, Track and Field, and Volleyball.
- Notable Alumni: Andre Johnson - Actor on TV show Black-ish** Queen Latifah - Actress, was on the hit TV show "Living Single"** Erika Alexander - Actress, was on the hit TV show "Living Single"** Chadwick Boseman, actor** Taraji P. Henson - Oscar and Emmy-Nominated and Golden Globe Winning Actress** Elijah Cummings - United States Representative** Thurgood Marshall - United States Supreme Court Justice** Toni Morrison - Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize–winning novelist** Stan Verrett, anchor on the ESPN and ESPNEWS networks in the United States** Tom Joyner Morning Show producer Nikki Woods** United States Ambassador Andrew Young** Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia Kasim Reed** Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson** Book artist Clarissa Sligh** Shauntay Hinton, beauty pageant winner** Gus Johnson, sports broadcaster** Attorney Vernon Jordan** Television personality Ananda Lewis** Former Mayor of the District of Columbia Adrian Fenty** Actor Lance Gross** Kamala Harris, first African-American, and first Asian-American female Attorney General & US Senator from California** Television journalist Lori Stokes** Actor Ossie Davis** Former Malian prime minister and NASA engineer Cheick Modibo Diarra** David Dinkins, the first African-American mayor of New York City** Emmy Award nominated actor and star of the TV Show Black-ish Anthony Anderson** The first Nigerian president Nnamdi Azikiwe** Mayor of Newark, New Jersey Ras J. Baraka** NFL player Antoine Bethea** Civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael** Music Mogul, Sean Combs** Ben Ali, co-founder and owner of Ben's Chili Bowl, the famous restaurant in Washington, D.C.** Choreographer, actress, Producer of "A Different World" and singer Debbie Allen**
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