Tribe: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia
Degree received from WSU: Ph.D. in American History
Why did you choose WSU? I wanted to work with a diverse and energetic young faculty that could teach me about subject area and improve my teaching ability at the same time.
What did you enjoy most about being a WSU student? I enjoyed the area, including the people. The small-town atmosphere and the friendliness of the academic community was especially enjoyable for someone thousands of miles from home.
What activities/programs were you involved with while at WSU? I served as an officer in both the Graduate Professional Student Association and History Graduate Student Association, worked with the new Center for the Arts and Humanities and was attempting an outreach program with local tribes before the COVID-19 virus intervened.
Did any particular WSU program make an impact in your success as a student? The Department of History was especially influential in developing my abilities as a researcher and educator, but I also enjoyed working with the Plateau Center and the Center for the Arts and Humanities. The former allowed me to present my research at their annual conference, while the latter encouraged me to get back involved and help the Plateau Center where I could. I only wish I had given more time during my WSU career.
What was your biggest challenge to achieving your education and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge was the academic rigors of the PhD program itself. Preparing for the written exams, oral exams, and then writing a dissertation and defending it were not easy, of course. But through the help of my faculty advisors and the close friends I have made in this program, I was able to pass these requirements and fulfill a goal that I have had since middle school.
What are your future plans? I plan to become a college professor, hopefully at a tribal school. I have applications pending at multiple tribal colleges across the country and would relish the opportunity to use what I have learned at WSU to help tribal communities and their students in the same way the Plateau Center helps indigenous students right here at WSU.
What advice would you give a freshman? “Don’t be scared.” Whether it is being scared of your professor, your teaching assistant, or other students you’d like to be friends with. Take the initiative and start a conversation. Your college career will fly by and the people you meet here will change your life forever. Take advantage of that and interact with as many as you can.