Tameka Winston becomes interim chair of Tennessee State University’s Department of Communications

If you Google Dr. Tameka Winston’s name, you will see that she is one of Alcorn State University’s most active alumni. The professor, author, Sirius XM radio host and researcher’s path to fame as a journalist and educator is nothing short of spectacular. She continues to add to her success by accepting the interim chair of the Tennessee State University Department of Communications.

Winston will take over a department that has over 400 majors, making it one of TSU’s largest programs. As interim chair, she plans to continue to improve student learning, obtain Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) accreditation and improve outreach activities, among other things. She credits her faith as the driving force behind her newest accomplishment.

“I feel grateful to have the unique opportunity to serve in this leadership role,” said Winston. “I knew at that very moment that God opened this door for me. My goal was to eventually transition into administration in the future, so this is an amazing opportunity. I’m truly thankful.”

The Belzoni, Mississippi native has become a staple in the Nashville community. She is among this year’s finalists for the Nashville Emerging Leaders Awards, where the winner will be announced in August. She was also named the 2015 Nashville Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40, TSU’s Professor of the Year for 2015 and 2012, 2015 Woman of Achievement Award in Higher Education for the state of Tennessee and the Network Journal’s 2015 Top Achievers in the United States. During her days as a student at Alcorn, she fell in love with Nashville after participating in a summer internship at Vanderbilt University. As she reflects on the accomplishments she’s earned, she is thankful for following her instincts to make the city her home after graduating.

“I moved to Nashville right after graduating from Alcorn, which was one of my biggest challenges because I didn’t have any family, friends or connections in the area. However, I was determined to move forward with my plan. I’m so glad that I listened to my gut and moved to the area. Although things were very difficult at the beginning, I never lost sight of my dream of pursuing and completing my doctorate degree.”

Motivated by the desire to make her grandmother proud, not only did she reach her goal, but she reached it at a young age. After becoming a college professor at age 27, she went on to earn the prized doctorate degree she had been chasing at age 30. Since then, she has made major contributions to the education of African-American students. She is the co-author of the textbook, Understanding the Speechmaking Process, which is used by students at TSU. For her, publishing books with content that her students can relate to is crucial to their matriculation as a student.

“I’m inspired to write textbooks because it’s imperative that there are textbooks that are available that contain information and images that are a direct reflection of the African-American community.”

Winton’s reach as an educator goes beyond the classroom. With her Sirius XM radio show, Black Docs Radio, she is one of four African-American female doctors who share their opinions on issues such as education, mental health, healthy living and other topics that are relevant to the black community. Her other show, Tennessee State Talk, is an informative and motivational show designed to empower the TSU community and discuss matters related to the university. Using her platforms to uplift her fellow sisters and brothers is very important to her. She does that by sharing the ups and downs of her humble beginnings in order to encourage others to achieve their goals.

“I’ve had the unique experience of mentoring young women and men with similar backgrounds. It’s important that I’m able to inspire and help others in the same way that my mentors inspired me. Mentoring and supporting those in need are integral to the mission of both radio shows. I enjoy working with the students each day and it’s truly a great feeling to see them reach their goals. I share my testimony with my mentees because I want them to see that they can achieve all of their goals through hard work and determination.”

As she spoke about motivating others to follow their dreams, she reminisced on how her instructors in Alcorn’s Department of Mass Communications gave her lessons that she carries with her today.

“My time at Alcorn was one of the best experiences of my life. During that time, I learned how to effectively deal with and overcome obstacles. Professors such as David Crosby, Anne White and Cedric Tillman did everything they could to help the mass communications students. I’m so thankful for their support and kindness during my undergraduate years because they are responsible for equipping me with the tools to be successful.”

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