Marcasia Jones reflects on an amazing experience at Alcorn

Attending an HBCU was important for Alcorn State University graduating senior Marcasia Jones. Growing up in Hickory, Mississippi, a predominantly white town, the first-generation Alcornite was eager to have a new experience.

“At my high school, I was considered the smart Black girl,” said Jones. “But then, I came to Alcorn where everyone looked like me and was just as qualified. I appreciated that I no longer had to carry that weight on my own. On campus, I joined clubs and organizations within my major. These organizations introduced me to people who faced the same issues. I realized that students on campus understood me.”

The journey that Marcasia began with her peers four years ago will come to an end when she receives her bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-medicine during Saturday’s Fall Commencement.

Coming to Alcorn introduced Jones to a new and exciting world. The rich HBCU culture captivated her from the moment she arrived on campus. Being on campus also allowed her to be independent in her decision-making. 

“Alcorn helped me to open up to a new way of life. As a child, I did not know anything about HBCU culture. I didn’t know about the marching bands or majorette-style dancing. I only knew that I wanted to attend an HBCU. Also, Alcorn forced me to speak up, whether mingling with classmates or talking to alumni. Being away from home made me have to shop for myself, learn how to budget money, and do laundry all while trying to maintain good grades.”

A significant part of Jones’s experience was beginning her path to becoming a pediatrician. Studying medicine put her on the path she's been interested in since her youth.

“My passion for medicine was ignited as a child. Visiting my childhood pediatrician always made me happy. I knew then that I wanted to help and care for children just like my doctor did for me. As a teen, I knew that I liked working with younger children. I babysat, did community service, and volunteered with the local youth in these positions. I wanted to be a positive leader for them. As a physician, I want to be an example in the clinical setting and my community.”

Many other educational and career opportunities also helped shape Jones into the scholar she is today. She applauds several departments at the University that are responsible for helping her while at Alcorn.

“The faculty in the Department of Biology and the Office of Career Services and Pre-Professional Programs have always made sure to inform students of potential opportunities. Recruiters from many other graduate schools have come to Alcorn on their school’s behalf. Alcorn helped me get a broader idea of all the steps I would need to take. During various interviews, interviewers were pleased to know that I attended Alcorn.”

Earning an Alcorn education means stepping into a new chapter for Jones. She’s thankful for all that the University has given her over her four-year journey.

“I am grateful to Alcorn because of the tremendous amount of support that I’ve received during my time. Being granted a full scholarship, alumni scholarships, and grants unique to Alcorn eliminated heavy financial burdens. The relationships that I formed with friends and faculty will always be meaningful. I have grown so much as an individual since I stepped on campus in 2018. Graduation is bittersweet.”