It’s a great feeling to come home after extended time away and see progress. Progress is exactly what I saw and experienced attending the 2014 Women of Color Summit at Mississippi State University March 6-7, 2014. The goal of the summit was to encourage retention and success of current women of color at State by illustrating the myriad of professional, academic and entrepreneurial opportunities that exist after completing a bachelor’s degree.
Dr. Tommy Stevenson, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion staff, and the 2014 WOC Planning Committee pulled together women of color panels, with emphasis on MS State alums and natives of the Hospitality state, who are contributing at home and all across the nation. The WOC team also pulled together prominent alum leaders as keynote speakers and Women of Color Honorees.
My primary panel discussed how pre-college and college academic excellence allowed three MS natives to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), the nation’s oldest honor society. We reflected on how standards and strategies of academic excellence are necessary to complete advanced degrees and pursue research careers. My favorite part of our panel was when my MSMS-Spelman sister, Joyelle Harris and I, discussed being inducted into PBK at an HBCU, Spelman College, and our positive experience was echoed by our new MS-PBK sister, Christin Gates, explaining how creating an HBCU-like environment through various mentors allowed her to excel at the University of Mississippi.
This was just one example of how our panel and others encouraged women of color to pursue academic success regardless of their environment.
Since I was home, my mom came down for the summit and used the opportunity to introduce my nephews to “college life.” Here are a few pics of them learning things like why college buildings are collectively called “campus”, the student union, the “learning buildings”, and the different play and practice fields for baseball, football, and soccer.
I saw more family when I spoke with my sister for Women’s Month at my dad’s church, Walton Chapel and did an impromptu chat at Mt. Zion in Sardis. I apologize in advance to my close MS friends and family that I didn’t get to see while I was home but, in hindsight, I’m so happy that all of our hard work, at home and elsewhere, is paying off. . .let’s keep progressing. . .