Hanniyah Roberson reflects on her Alcorn experience as she approaches graduation

Graduating college early is an incredible feat that takes a higher level of dedication and hard work. Hanniyah Roberson, a biology pre-physical therapy major, will accomplish this milestone when she receives a bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University after three years.

Roberson will be one of many students who will celebrate the culmination of their undergraduate education Saturday, Nov. 21, during Alcorn’s Fall Commencement. The Fort Worth, Texas native, is grateful for those who have cheered on along the way.

“I’m so excited and blessed to graduate college a year early,” said Roberson. “I credit God, my support system, and practicing good time management skills for my accomplishment. I remembered what my goals were and stayed positive, which were also significant factors in keeping myself on course.”

Roberson remembers her time as an experience she will cherish forever. She said that Alcorn helped her to be more outgoing.

“My experience at Alcorn was great. I was timid when I started college, but being at Alcorn has brought me out of my shell. I continuously learned more about myself while being here.”

Becoming a leader on campus also helped Roberson step out of her comfort zone. She is one of the founding members of the mentorship organization “The Blueprint,” which aims to support freshmen by helping them to get accustomed to college life.

“I also enjoyed meeting new people and starting an organization on campus called The Blueprint. The organization’s purpose is to mentor freshmen who need guidance in balancing their school and social life. I’m glad that I can leave my mark at Alcorn because the organization will continue to provide incoming students with a positive mentor as they start a journey to develop leadership and networking skills.”

When Roberson wasn’t an active student body leader, she was busy honing her athletic abilities by being a member of Alcorn’s track & field team.

“My experience was good. I met lifelong friends and great coaches along the way. Being on the woman’s track & field team taught me to persist, be patient, and be disciplined. I believe I will be able to take those lessons into the next chapter of my life.”

Athletics have been a part of Roberson’s life since she was five years old. Like any athlete, she suffered a few injuries along her journey that required her to visit several doctors. Her most significant injury required assistance from a physical therapist, which would later turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

“I have been an athlete my whole life and have had a few injuries. One of my most serious injuries required me to see a physical therapist. During that experience, I felt discouraged and unsure if I would bounce back. However, my physical therapist not only helped me get back in shape but also helped me regain confidence in my body and its ability to perform.”

The visit piqued Roberson’s interest in becoming a physical therapist and inspired her to pursue a career in the field.

“Health and wellness have always been important to me. I’ve always wanted to become a physical therapist and help not only athletes but people of all ages, to feel stronger after rehab and to feel more confident in their capabilities.”

As Roberson completes her journey, she thanks the Department of Biology and her mentors for the years of support.

“My department has helped me in so many ways. I’ve had quality professors while at Alcorn, who has given me hands-on experience in labs and taught me so much information to prepare me for physical therapy school. Drs. Voletta Williams, Elena Kostyleva, and Terrance Burks have guided me while being here, and I express much gratitude to them.”