Dear AADS graduates,
Something more than a simple congratulations is due to you on this meaningful day of your graduation. For all the intellectual and material challenges of “college,” you have added to this the reckoning with ongoing and grave new challenges to the environment, to life, to Black lives. Who you are and what you have achieved—so far! more is to come—matters to this longer human story.
Recall to memory our AADS symbol, the Ghanaian Sankofa—a bird who looks backward while facing forward, as you continue to tell your story and make your place in our world today. “Return and get it,” is the proverbial wisdom this symbol offers. In other words, there is tremendous importance to learning form the past as you make your way in the present world. The Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, whose novels chart a historical trajectory from precolonial life forward, movingly writes of the power of this story:
It is only the story that can continue beyond the war and the warrior. It is the story that outlives the sound of war-drums and the exploits of brave fighters. It is the story…that saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spike of the cactus fence. The story is our escort; without it, we are blind. Does the blind man own his escort? No, neither do we the story; rather it is the story that owns and directs us. (Anthills of the Savannah, 1987)
As you make your way in the world, as you carry your wisdom forward into the world, recognize the power derived from your knowledge and story as it is shared with others and voiced in the world. It is this process of sharing that transforms our knowledge into wisdom. For the knowledge we share makes us stronger, and the diverse cultural beauty of AADS is best known through our interwoven, many stories.
We want to know what you go on to do, what you’re thinking about, and encourage your participation in our future events. Please keep in touch with AADS by emailing us your new contact information and following us on twitter: @AfAmStudiesUNCG.
Congratulations on your commencement!
Dr. Noelle Morrissette, Director
African American and African Diaspora Studies
Jordan Dejaun Oglesby
Kamone’ Jamon Hyman
Joshua Darren Etheridge
I am working on finishing up flight school to pursue my career as an Airline Pilot upon graduation from UNCG.
Jasmine Nicole Allen
Grace Owonari George
Vanessa Annette Hunter
Miesha Sade Moore
Cierra Denise Bryant
Je’nai LaKel Lee
Mya Chyanne Gray
As far as my plans for graduation, I plan to simply take a year off to work, hopefully I’ll get a job in non-profit work. Afterwards, I plan on getting into to a post-bacc health program. After that, I plan on applying to graduate programs in public health or in biomedical sciences.
Denaisha Bell Wortham
After graduation I will take a break year and get into the workforce but also gathering things for master program applications.
My name is Shelby Pennix and I’m senior double majoring in Sociology and AADS. I have served as an AmeriCorps member with the Black Child Development Institute for two years. I currently serve as a tutor for the North Carolina Education Corps for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools. I have conducted research on Black Immigrants’ Perspectives on the Black Lives Matter Movement. I have presented my research at National Association of African American Studies Conference and CACE and UNCG’s Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo.
After graduation, I begin my Master of Arts in Teaching program at UNCG in the summer. I will be obtaining my MAT in middle grades education with a concentration in social studies. I was also accepted into UNCG’s Piedmont Teacher Residency Partnership (PTRP) in collaboration with Rockingham County Schools. I will be taking part in a year long clinical experience in a high needs school in Rockingham County while completing my masters.
Miyanna S Smith
Candice Karia Nance
Gabrielle Samuels is an African American Diaspora Studies Major and a History Minor. During her time at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she was President of the UNCG African American Diaspora Studies Club for almost two years and a part of the Neo-Black Society as well as Students of Caribbean Ancestry. During her last year as an undergrad she was also an intern for the African American Studies Program. Born in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and raised in Gastonia, North Carolina, she has known she wanted to be a teacher since she was in middle school. She will be going on to get her Masters in Teaching at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, after which she will be teaching Middle Grades Social Studies and English in a Middle School in a high needs area.
Nikolis Clarke-kyre Miller
My name is Marisa King and I am 20 years old. I am a graduating senior attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I major in African American Diaspora Studies with a focus in pre-law. I plan on attending law school in the fall. I have plans on becoming a private practicing attorney. My focus will be on reopening cases where people, specifically African Americans have been failed by the United States’ justice system and unjustly incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. I chose to major in African American Diaspora Studies because learning about black history has always been a huge interest and passion of mine. Since UNCG does not offer a criminal justice major, I made the decision to change my major from political science to African American Diaspora Studies. I knew that I could major in something I loved and still could fulfill my dream of becoming an attorney.
My post graduation plans include attending law school in the fall of 2021. After obtaining my Juris Doctor degree I plan on opening my own law firm and beginning my private practicing legal career. I am also going to be involved in real estate.