Alumna Te’Yah Wright ’21 earns a master’s degree from Yale University

An Alcorn State University alumna recently completed graduate studies at one of the country’s top Ivy League colleges.

Te’Yah Wright ’21 earned a master’s degree in environmental management with an emphasis on environmental policy analysis & urban specialization from the Yale School of the Environment during the university’s Commencement Monday, May 22. Later this year, Wright will begin her tenure as an undergraduate recruitment and diversity, equity, and inclusion student initiative specialist at Ohio State University.

The graduation stage was set on Yale’s campus, where Wright experienced moments like hanging with friends and preparing for exams. Finishing her journey in such a significant area was a special way to culminate her journey.

“Walking across the stage in Yale’s courtyard where I spent countless hours mulling over assignments, chatting with peers, and, in the end, receiving my degree felt so surreal and magical,” said Wright. “All the hard work from the past two years had finally paid off at that moment.”

Studying at Yale gave Wright countless opportunities to foster her abilities and advocate for causes such as climate change and equality for minorities.

“Yale opened so many doors I never thought I would experience. Although the classes were challenging, they were helpful in providing me with the knowledge and tools to be a successful environmental manager as I strived to fight against climate change and injustice. Working in the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Sustainability Initiative with Dr. Dorceta Taylor allowed me to hone my critical and analytical skills, which helped me to conduct necessary research to expose injustices done to Black and Brown communities.”

One of the opportunities that Yale afforded Wright was traveling abroad to display her passions and learn ways of helping others. In 2021, Wright traveled to Egypt to assist with the inaugural Climate Justice Pavilion in partnership with WeACT for Environmental Justice, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, and the Bullard Center for Environmental Justice and Climate Justice. She also studied abroad in Portugal, London, and Canada.

“Working closely with executive directors to plan and host events for youth and future generations will always be unmatched. Yale allowed me to foster the skills and knowledge learned in class and put them into practice on an international scale.”

During the graduation ceremony, Wright served as one of the speakers and gave a speech centered on standing in solidarity with everyone. She hopes that her words made an impact on the audience.

“All voices matter in the battle for change, and our society won’t improve unless diverse perspectives are at the forefront. It was important for me to ensure that graduates, families, and friends would think about justice in their next steps. I want my impact and passion to be retained by the emotions felt after hearing my speech.”

Graduating from Yale made Wright reflect on her time at Alcorn and how attending the university equipped her for her current success.

“The support from Alcorn’s Department of Agriculture, my peers, and the HBCU love at Alcorn will forever be paramount to my development as a Black woman in the environmental field. My alma mater provided me with a rich opportunity to participate in lectures and research, which is invaluable to building skills to succeed.”

Wright is proud of her accomplishment and hopes to motivate others to dream big.

“I am very proud to be the first person in my family to receive a master’s degree and attend an Ivy League university. I hope to inspire my family and those around me to pursue their dreams and dream even bigger because it will be worth it in the end.”