Where Knowledge and Character Matter

Alumni Profiles

Hi, I am Kenneth Broome. Teaching was something I was interested in long before I stepped foot on the campus of Alcorn State University. Since I graduated in 2011, I have used my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature well. I first went on to get a master’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing-Fiction from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; the following fall, I started teaching my first college class. My first teaching position after graduate school was as an English adjunct at Georgia College and State University, the same university the great Southern writer Flannery O’Conner attended. After a short time there, I began working at Central Georgia Technical College. I am now in my first year as a full-time, limited instructor at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.

I’m so excited and blessed to have a chance to teach full time. It is truly something I enjoy. I approach teaching as if I’m the student. I don’t want to be bored, so I don’t bore my students. I was recently given the chance to theme my class, and I chose “Monsters.” It’s such an exciting class to teach. It’s not about whether you believe in these monsters, like werewolves, which we do cover, but also what have these monsters have meant to society and how they have had an effect on different aspects of our culture. I also cover figurative “monsters” in my class, including bullying, sexual violence and abuse, self-hate, big business and government.

I hope to become a published author in the near future. I have a few poems in a small publication that my graduate program put out. I’m hoping to finish my e-book collection of short stories and my first fiction novel early next year.

Alcorn is where I solidified my love of reading and writing and knew English would be my career of choice. I really owe so much to the Alcorn State English Department. It was an amazing program with phenomenal professors. So many classes and professors really have been an inspiration to me and how I approach teaching. They showed that teaching didn’t have to be stiff and mind-numbing.

My advice to current and future students in the ASU English department is this: don’t waste the opportunity. English degrees can gain you much more than just teaching English. The Alcorn English Department is jammed packed with professors who will help you from now until the day you leave as a graduate and far beyond. An opportunity to have people of this caliber become so invested in your success is overwhelming. They will help you all they can, but they will also teach you to get out there and go for what you want; it’s not just going to come to you, and for that, I truly thank them all.

My name is Jovonte Santos and I am a 2009 Alumni of Alcorn’s English Department. While attending Alcorn I pursued a concentration in English Literature and Professional Writing. Following graduation I served as a congressional intern for Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran of Mississippi. In 2012, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Boston with a Masters in Conflict resolution/Organizational Conflict. Currently I am mediator for Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Within this capacity I focus on providing mediation, conflict coaching, and facilitation to staff and senior-level managers. Additionally, I teach graduate and undergraduate courses at Lasell College.

When I think of the Alcorn English Department and the preparation I received the following quote by F.Scott Fitzgerald resonates. He states, “the test of a first rate intellectual is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Through research, in-depth analysis, and reflective dialogue the English Department allowed me to walk away having learned effective skills in written/verbal communication, persuasion and dialogue. These skills have been critical in my current work as I address complex organizational issues by finding resolution amidst opposing ideas. Moreover, my coursework helped me to develop a yearning to find an intermediary space that could soothe tensions in organizations, teams and communities. Each semester I recall having to grapple with diverse ideals by reading literary works spanning across genres, societies, and cultures. Whether it was Mark Twain, Alice Walker, Michel Foucault or Khaled Hosseini, there were times I unapologetically disagreed with some and found points to consider from those I least expected. In all my courses I was constantly reminded to look for a contextual lens, a sort of frame that could allow me to see new meanings and ultimately the rationale motivating perceptions and behavior. Today I look for lenses as I daily intervene in situations where partisan perceptions run rampant and I must assist all stakeholders in finding common points that lead to a mutual agreement.

Most of all I will always cherish the immense encouragement Department faculty and peers gave me. I will never forget being told I would lead a life of impact, service, and change. Those words have remained a source of nourishment for me to this day. I knew my time at Alcorn was preparing me for something and the years spent “beneath the shade of giant trees” set my path. As I reflect on where I am now and what is ahead I know that the Alcorn English Department was a essential for my growth and development.

For that and so much more I am eternally grateful to the Alcorn English Department staff, faculty, my classmates and the entire Alcorn Family.

Hello, my name is Anisha Meadious Pizzferro, a 2011 English Literature graduate of Alcorn State University. I currently reside in Hattiesburg, MS, where my husband and I decided to begin a foundation for our family after my journey at Alcorn State. Shortly after receiving my bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue my master’s degree. I attended the University of West Alabama, where I studied Psychology and Counseling. In December of 2013, I graduated with a degree in Counseling Psychology, which has lead me to my current career path of a Behavioral Specialist at Region 8 Mental Health. I started work with the agency in 2014 as a Mental Health Therapist and was promoted to a Behavioral Specialist 5 months later. If it had not been for the foundation that Alcorn English professors laid for their students, my current and future endeavors would be much harder. By given the opportunity to learn and analyze philosophers like Sigmund Freud and several others, I was able to evaluate psychological theories beyond what was given in the textbook alone. I learned very early that English requires one to think outside the box. Each professor in the English Department made sure that students developed a sense of mental creativity which helped to sharpen reasoning skills. Being in the field of counseling requires me to help other think rationally and to think beyond the current situation that causes them mental or physical pain. Each day I encourage children as well as adults to be critical thinkers rather than dwelling on the things that are before them. From the day I started my career, I knew that I would be able to utilize much of the skills and training that Alcorn State's English Department taught me. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to gain all the knowledge I could from such a great university and department.

Hello to the Best Department at Alcorn State University! My name is Jamilla S. Martin; I am a 2009 English Education and a 2010 Master of Secondary English Education Alumni! I also received my Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership Curriculum and Instruction from Mississippi College in 2013. I recently began my sixth year as an English Teacher. Currently I am an AP Language/American Literature and British Literature teacher at Columbia High School in Decatur, GA. My experiences at Alcorn have prepared me to share the wealth of knowledge that I acquired from each of my professors. I originally entered the English Department as a Literature major because I planned on attending law school. However, after taking several classes, I realized that I wanted to share my love of literature with younger generations. I still refer back to my old anthologies as I prepare lesson plans and essay topics for my students. I even use old papers (with grades and professor comments) to model writing for my students. The high standards that were expected of students by my professors then still linger in my mind as I educate my students on a daily basis. Thank you to all of my professors for illuminating the true meaning of being an educator. I am forever grateful for Alcorn State University's English Department. The times spent in Harmon and Bolden Hall will forever be in my heart!!!

My name is Ebony Berry Bealer and I am a 2008 English Education graduate. I immediately began my teaching career after departing from beneath the shade of giant trees. I currently teach 8th grade English and serve as the English Department Chairperson, a role that I have had the pleasure of maintaining for the past five years at two different schools. I am also enrolled at Concordia University, Nebraska where I am completing coursework to earn a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a Curriculum Supervisor certificate.

I find myself combing through literature books, notes, and discussions that I used during my time at Alcorn to bring new and challenging material to my students. In fact, I have just finished reading the Contemporary American Literature short story “Harrison Bergeron” with my students and having them write an argumentative essay on the topic of true equality’s existence in society. I plan to pair the text with Daisy Miller, another classic read in my American literature classes.

With the rigor of the Common Core standards, I continuously rely on the rich and diverse variety of texts to shape and mold not only my classroom’s curriculum, but that of the entire department. I also attribute my work ethic and high expectations for my students to the English Department at Alcorn. I am thankful to the professors who held us and our work to the highest standards and never let up on us. Taking 21 hours one for 3 semesters with 18 of the hours being English courses prepared me for the multitasking that I do inside the classroom as well as the mountains of paperwork beyond the classroom that are essential to a public school teacher’s job. Beyond academics, my professors in the English department have shown me how to foster long lasting relationships with my students. Their continued support which transcends the classroom has really meant a lot to me. I feel as though I always have an extended family cheering me on and celebrating my successes with me. They have shown me that a true teacher not only illuminates your mind, but your heart as well. Every time that I walk into my classroom, I bring with me not only the knowledge gained, but the love as well.

My name is Alexise Hanner. I am a proud graduate from Alcorn State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. I graduated in May 2007, and I still remember when we first opened the ASU Writing Center. I was a part of that first group of tutors to work there. I actually consider that to be my very first job in higher education. Because of that experience I was quickly able to identify that I am my absolute best when I am serving others through higher education.

I recently accepted a position as the Assistant Director of TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis, IN. TRIO consists of eight federally funded programs that support and provide services to students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. My program supports students who are the first in their family to attend college or from a low-income family. We also specialize in supporting students who are physically disabled, veterans, or have a learning disability.

I was introduced to TRIO Programs while earning my Master of Science in Communications Studies at Indiana State University (ISU). (I had never heard of ISU until an English professor at Alcorn told me about it! J ) I was hired to supervise the Upward Bound Summer Academy. This is a TRIO program that introduced high school students to the college experience. After completing my Master’s Degree in May 2010, I pursued other roles in higher education. A list of my previous work experience includes Academic Coach and Mentor at Western Governors University, Adjunct Communications Faculty at Harrison College, Indiana State University, and Ivy Tech Community College. I recently served as the Academic Coordinator of TRIO Student Support Services at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis.

On the surface it may appear that I haven’t used my English Degree often. However, my English Degree is what got me hired in all of my positions. Because I have earned two degrees in liberal arts, I was able to obtain higher education teaching positions. TRIO programs operate on a federal grant. You are required to submit a 50-60 page grant proposal in order to receive funds to operate. Because of the strong writing and critical thinking skills I developed in the ASU English Department, I am able to write successful grant proposals. I took a technical writing class at ASU. At that time, I didn’t know the value of the course. Now, I find myself writing memos, newsletters, and training guides for my staff all the time. Majoring in English at ASU was one of the best decisions I ever made. The skills that I have gained prepared me for a wonderful career in higher education.

Hi. My name is Ebony Moore and I graduated in 2010 with a degree in English with a concentration in Professional Writing. Now, some years after graduating, I can both clearly see and wholly appreciate the way Alcorn helped me to build a solid foundation upon which to begin my post-collegiate life. A few months after graduating, my journey led to the state of Washington where I began working towards my master’s degree in English Literature at Washington State University. Being in such a unique and culturally different environment was definitely a challenge for me, but I found solace in the classrooms where I had so much background knowledge on the topics discussed. There were countless times when I recalled discussions or pulled out notes or a book/novel with annotations that I’d written while at Alcorn and it provided much needed clarity and support for a project at hand. During my graduate school experience, I immediately developed an even deeper gratitude for my Alcorn professors for exposing me to all of the different literary periods and movements (and even the perplexing literary theories) that I probably would have never gravitated to on my own, but which benefitted me greatly.

After earning my master’s degree, I worked for two years as a writer and publications coordinator for the Washington State University Foundation. In this position, I used many of the writing skills that I honed as a student in Alcorn’s English Department’s Professional Writing Program including creative writing, technical writing, interviewing and writing feature stories. One thing I learned about myself while working as a writer was that my skills weren’t only sharpened by those writing classes that I’d taken, but also influenced by the literature and authors I’d studied. This was a definite plus.

Currently, I am a middle school teacher in Houston, Texas where I have the pleasure and challenge of cultivating young minds on skills in reading and writing—yet another capacity that I credit to my Alcorn education. So often while working with my students, I find myself referencing my Alcorn experience saying things like: “When I was in college, one thing my professor would always tell me to notice in literature is…” or spark their interest with, “I didn’t learn this until I was in college, but I’m going to show you this skill now…” My greatest hope as an educator is that I can be as influential in my students’ lives as my Alcorn professors have been in my own. I feel forever indebted to my English professors at Alcorn because not only have they helped me grasp the educational concepts that I have needed in the career paths I have chosen, but they have provided me with all the support, encouragement and advice that I have needed along the way. My Alcorn experience is one that will remain near and dear to my heart.

Greetings! I am Breanna Fulton, a 2011 magna cum laude graduate of Alcorn State University and doctoral student at Grand Canyon University. After receiving my BA in English Literature, I attended Lindenwood University-Belleville to complete my MA in School Counseling. While interning as a counselor at an inner-city charter school, I realized that I wanted to be more hands on with scholars and assist them in engaging with amazing literary works. In order to do so, I applied to Teach for America and accepted an offer to become a member of the 2014 Memphis Corps. As a result of this, I currently teach 4th grade Reading/Language Arts at a school that was recently ranked as the lowest elementary school in the state of Tennessee.

I wholeheartedly believe that there is no other university that could have prepared me for the task of giving children the gift of literacy better than Alcorn State University. In order to give my scholars the best that I can each day, I consistently depend on the skills that I learned as a student in the ASU English department. Each day, I teach students to go beyond the words written on the page and develop a deeper understanding of the author and their purpose. Also, I use strategies such as the analysis, evaluation and synthesis of literature in order to encourage everyday learners to become critical thinking and socially conscious learners. Additionally, I rely on skills that I developed during courses such as Adolescent Literature to ensure that I give my scholars culturally relevant texts that will resonate with them for years to come. Lastly, Alcorn State University’s English Department has been the foundation for all of my career achievements and the continued support that I receive from professors has continued to be unmatched by any other system of schools I have attended.

My name is Marcus Haynes, and I graduated from Alcorn in 2012 with a degree in English Literature. I then attended University of Louisiana at Lafayette and received my Master of Arts in English (Creative Writing). I currently live in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and teach freshman English at Georgia Gwinnett College. In the fall, I will start a doctoral program in Humanities at Clark Atlanta University, double majoring in English and African-American Studies. I am also a blogger, running the site The Ratchedemic ( www.theratchedemic.squarespace.com ), and an author whose first book, Legend of the Orange Scepter, will be published in September.

My English degree helps me every day. The things I learned at Alcorn State, from the literature I read to the teaching styles I was exposed to, make me both a good teacher and a good writer. Learning how to analyze literature and think critically has made me who I am as a teacher, writer, scholar and overall person.

One semester I did two things that I think helped me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Spring semester of my sophomore year, I read the novels Go Ask Alice and A Hero Ain’t Nothin But a Sandwich, and did a project where I had to create a visual presentation of a number of black authors. By taking a close look at real life issues in the two books and realizing how few black authors I knew, I began to understand how important it is to have adolescent literature that reflects a variety of experiences, cultures, and authors. It taught me how important diverse books are, especially adolescent books, and that is something that I hope to teach to others.

I am Allison Anna Dawson, a summa cum laude graduate of Alcorn State University, Class of 2008, with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English (Education). Since my graduation, I have been employed at Wilkinson County High School as an English instructor. For the past four years, I have taught English II, Honors English II, English IV, and Honors English IV. I returned to my alma mater in the Fall of 2009 to begin coursework towards my Master’s in Secondary Education with a concentration in English and earned my second degree in December of 2011.

There is no other school or department that could have better prepared me for my career than the English department at Alcorn State University. My exposure to every possible type of literature and various teaching strategies afforded me a sound foundation and knowledge base from which I draw daily in my own classroom. It was through my beloved English department that I learned the beauty of literature and all it has to offer with its hidden, mysterious recesses. It was through my beloved English instructors that I learned to traverse the various literary time periods, searching for “intertextuality” and a connectedness which relates to and intertwines us all.

One specific strategy that I have incorporated within my own British Literature classes is the completion of Reading Responses. With approximately eighty seniors to teach daily, I use Reading Responses to conduct a personal conversation with each student that I would not otherwise have. I am afforded the opportunity to see their growth as they attack challenging texts to determine a meaning which can be supported through text-based evidence, another strategy that I honed through my English department. Ultimately, through having to develop concise written communication, I learned to appreciate the revision phase of the writing process, the one phase which shows the individual growth and development.

I can honestly attest to the fact that there is no other department at any university which can match or supersede the dedication and commitment to producing effective and knowledgeable classroom instructors. The support system that I garnered while a student still exists as I continue to evolve as a professional in my chosen field. I will always be Forever Alcorn, but my greatest love will always be Harmon Hall, the housing (back then) of the greatest English and Foreign Languages department in the world.

Powered by Finalsite