Mar’Kaja Ramirez climbs the ranks to become head drum major of the Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Marching Band

A standout performer with Alcorn State University's Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Marching Band is officially one of the band's section leaders.

Mar'Kaja Ramirez, a senior biology major from Natchez, Mississippi, was recently named the band's head drum major, a position that Ramirez has strived to achieve since her freshman year.

"It is an amazing feeling because I've worked hard to get to this point," said Ramirez. "I'm happy to have finally accomplished my goal."

The position allows Ramirez to further exercise her love for performing. She gets joy from the positive reactions from spectators who are wowed by her skills.

"I've always been interested in performing. I like putting on a show and entertaining people. It's an amazing feeling to know that people get joy from watching me perform, and that's what I'm passionate about."

The achievement didn't come without some adversity. After struggling to make the squad in her freshman year, her effort wasn't enough in her sophomore campaign, as she failed to make the team. She remembers the pain of rejection, and how that motivated her to work twice as hard.

"You have to work your way up the ranks. My freshman year was, by far, the hardest, but being a part of a male-dominated drum section prepared me to follow my dreams. I didn't make it my sophomore year, which was a hard pill to swallow, but it pushed me to work harder."

Heading into her junior year, Ramirez had put in the necessary practice and was prepared for her moment. She was confident that her improvements in leadership and execution would lead her to the top.

"At the end of my sophomore year, I made sure I trained as hard as I could so I could secure a spot, and I did. My junior year, I made sure I was the strong leader and performer I knew I could be so that I would be ready when the opportunity came."

Ramirez encourages others to remain diligent in pursuing their purpose.

"Never doubt yourself. Don't rely on anyone to make your dreams happen. Work hard and keep God first, and you can accomplish anything."