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Here Comes the Boom!

A look inside of the best and baddest band in the land, JSU’s Sonic Boom of the South

Are you in love with Mary Jane?

The effects of marijuana use on academic performance


2015 Fall Edition


What’s Inside


THE VOICE OF eXperience 5

A letter from 2015-2016 Editor Orionna Brumfield


A look at the demographics of JSU

CAMPUS LIFE 8 12 14 16 18

Let the Good Times Roar- JSU Homecoming 2015 No L.I.M.I.T.S for Miss JSU Charence Higgins It’s Time for Moore: SGA President Speaks The MADDRAMA eXperience The Balancing Act

HEALTH & WELLNESS 20 22 26 28


The Truth Behind the Freshman 15 JSU Students Get Passport to the World Are you in love with Mary Jane? G.I.R.L. Meets World


I’m Texting and I Can’t Get Up! You Don’t Have to Look Like Where You Came From Redefining Living and Learning on Campus Here Comes The Boom



All Sports Wrap-up


2016 Presidential Election



The Voice of

To My JSU Family: I transferred here fall 2014 after graduating from Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss. I was nervous about finishing my journey at JSU, but I eXperienced FAMILY in everything I became a part of: NABJ, Blue & White Flash, eXperience Magazine, Golden Key, Tau Sigma, W.E.B Du Bois Honors College, Transfer Ambassadors, and MADDRAMA Performance Troup. I became one busy lady really quick, but the trials and challenges created many triumphs! Now, I can gladly say… two years later…I’ll be graduating from Thee Jackson State University in 2016 bleeding blue and white! On the top list of all my eXperiences, being a part of the Student Publications team which includes The Blue & White Flash and eXperience Magazine, is the most memorable. I never thought I would have accomplished so much before I graduated, especially with the title of eXperience magazine editor! When Ms. Tatum first asked me to be this year’s magazine editor, I was shocked. I went back to a year ago when I was devastated after having unpublished articles, and thought to myself, “Now I have a job offer as an editor”? Then, I took a moment to really think about my writing now versus a year ago. Although my articles were not being published back then, I worked on them until they were. I became one of the top writers in her news reporting class… but I still did not think that was enough to become any kind of editor. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was so excited, but I had all kinds of other emotions built inside of me as well. Regardless of my emotions, I took the job! At that moment, I didn’t know what kind of editor I would be, but I was willing to accept the challenge. It’s funny how we do things not knowing what the outcome will be, but that’s life. I quickly adapted to my job as a magazine editor the moment I edited the first article. It was natural to correct word usage or change the way something was said. I remembered all of the mistakes I used to make and the Associated Press Style rules we were required to learn in News Reporting class. Now, writing is natural for me. I have developed different styles for the magazine, newspaper, my online blog, and even my own plays. I know writing will always be a skill I can take anywhere…BUT this would have not happened if I was not critiqued with unpublished articles at first. Remember; always be open to someone giving you critiques or advice because you never know what you can learn from them. Never be satisfied with being content, always look for new ways to learn and grow… that’s what I’ve done as a writer and in every article I review as an editor. Thank you Ms. Shannon Tatum, for pushing me, you brought out a fight in me I never thought I had until my first few stories weren’t published. I also want to thank Ms. Kierra Thomas, Ms. Sylvia Watley, Ashton Nash, William Kelly, and Jeremy Anderson for all the help and advice. I can honestly say that my team and I have worked extremely hard to bring our audience (you) something great to eXperience. I hope you enjoy every detail! Until next time,

Orionna Brumfield 2015-2016 eXperience Magazine Editor

2015 Fall Edition


eXperience Staff Jeremy Anderson Aneshia Becton Kristen Blanks Gabrielle Brawner Kendra Brown Orionna Brumfield Cory Davis

Photography/Graphics William H. Kelly III Orionna Brumfield Breyionna Flowers Charles A. Smith Rodney McGee

Jorrie Jones Deborah Luckett Ashton Nash Jhade’ Norris Shane Savannah Tierra Woods DaShawna Wright

School of Journalism and Media Studies Contributors Sierra Abbott Tatiyanna Blood Aniecia Brewster Mia Brooks Ashley Hulitt

Deirdra Harris Glover Tiffanie Herron Dwayne Joseph, Jr. Ceaira Wilson MC301-02 News Reporting

Production Staff Shannon Tatum Adviser/Production Editor & Manager Orionna BrumďŹ eld Managing Editor

Kierra Thomas Art Director/ Graphic Designer William H. Kelly III Student Graphic Designer

is an annual magazine written and edited by Jackson State University students with the counsel of an adviser. Views expressed withing do not necessarily represent the opinions of the administration, faculty/staff, student body, or the Board of Trustees State Institutions of Higher Learning. Articles, photographs and other materials in the eXperience magazine cannot be republished without the expressed written permission of the editor, adviser and the Student Publications Board at Jackson State University. For additional information, contact JSU Student Publications. For more information about joining the staff, submissions, advertising or additional copies, please call 601-979-2167 or send an email to Student Publications School of Journalism and Media Studies Jackson State University JSU Post Office Box 18449 Jackson, MS 39217 Phone: 601-979-2167 Fax: 601-979-2876

WHOWEARE Daria Butorina Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine

Douglas Williams Kalamazoo, Mich.

Alexandra Astorga Covina, Ca.

Julian Bell Greensboro, N.C.

Jillian Travillion Greenwood, Miss.

Eric Brea Barcelona, Spain

Sam Luton Brisbane, Australia




Top Five Counties: Hinds - 3,908 Madison - 633 Rankin - 485 Copiah - 200 Warren - 163

Top Five States: Illinois - 350 Tennessee - 196 Georgia - 193 Louisiana - 169 Alabama - 109

Top Five Countries: China - 47 Ethiopia - 38 India - 36 Nigeria - 24 Cameroon - 11

As you stroll around Jackson State University, it is hard to imagine that the University started as the Natchez Seminary, a private school, under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, for the purpose of educating Mississippi’s newly freed and underprivileged blacks. Jackson State has become a melting pot of diversity that if you tried to name all the states, countries, languages, religions and cultures represented here, it would be a daunting task. Enrollment has grown by 10.8 percent at Jackson State University over the past three years, the largest increase of any state-assisted college or university, according to figures released by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). With an enrollment of 9,802 students, JSU is now the fourth-largest HBCU in the country. Four of five colleges at Jackson State report enrollment growth with the College of Public Service posting the largest increase at 9.9 percent. A 9 percent growth rate was tallied for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology and a healthy 7.8 percent increase is being reported for the College of Business. The College of Liberal Arts reports growth to be 5.4 percent over last year. The College of Education and Human Development reported growth in undergraduate programs in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education and Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

2015 Fall Edition


Campus Life



The eXperience Magazine


ackson State University Tigers ‘Let the Good Times Roar’ during the 2015 Homecoming celebration. From events like the K Camp concert, the Alumni Day Party, the gospel concert and so much more, students, staff, faculty, administrators and community supporters celebrated 138 years of existence.


What better way to start off Homecoming week than with a rising artist? Well, that’s exactly what JSU did! Before thrilling the audience with his popular music, K Camp granted associate editor William Kelly III an exclusive interview that delved into his musical inspirations and future aspirations. “If you want something in life, you have to keep working towards it. Keep grinding, no one can stop you, but you,” said K Camp.


In what has become a much anticipated tradition, New Jerusalem Church hit the campus of JSU for a worship service that filled the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium with words of faith and songs of praise. JSU students, employees and the community showed up to show out for the Lord in this spirit filled event.


DJ T-Money and the Money Team crew hosted the annual Foam Party on the lawn of the John R. People’s Building. Hundreds of excited students converged on the lawn and danced the night away as machines drenched the brave partygoers who were caught in the waterfall of foam.


Every year, student organizations come together to raise money to continue serving as an active organization. Street Jam was held outside at the JSU Recreational Complex. Those in attendance could find many of their favorite guilty pleasures for reasonable prices. Students danced and fellowshipped throughout the night in the carnivallike atmosphere. Barbeque, chicken-on-a-stick, brownies, candy apples, cotton candy, specialty drinks and much more could be enjoyed for a minimal cost. There was also a party to go along with all the good eating. What could be better than that?

2015 Fall Edition



With Jackson State University’s Homecoming festivities well underway, there was a familiar event that everyone looks forward to, the Comedy Show. The show featured comedians who have already made their mark on our stage before, Lav Luv and Sean Larkins; as well as a newcomer, Yohancé Collins, who proved to be just as hilarious. Hosted by the JSU Student Government Association, the comedy show was held in the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium on Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. DJ Ron kept the crowd and comedians moving with his musical selections throughout the show.


The atmosphere surrounding Jackson State University’s 138th annual Founders’ Day Convocation was eclectic. As current faculty, students, and alumni of the university convened on the Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway, the spirit of JSU’s forefathers, who founded the university in 1877, for the purpose of educating African-Americans, many of whom were former slaves, was felt by all who attended the ceremony. With the Sonic Boom of the South ushering in a sea of current instructors and administrators, followed by prominent members of Mississippi’s public office, including Senator and keynote speaker, Derrick T. Simmons, along with the Mayor of Jackson, Tony Yarber, the underlining mission statement of the day’s event was clear: to know your future, you first must acknowledge your past.


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Miss JSU 2015-2016, Charence Higgins, became the official queen of JSU on Oct. 22nd at the annual coronation ceremony. “I married my university” said Higgins about the event. No L.I.M.I.T.S: No Losing Insight on My Intelligence, Talent, and Service is the platform Charence Higgins implemented long before winning the official title of Miss Jackson State University. Honored by the many organizations she is a member of, MADDRAMA and the Dance Ensemble performed special tributes to the Queen. After the coronation, a reception and party was held to raise funds for the Queen’s Campaign.


Every year, the alumni of JSU come together to reminisce about the past, celebrate the present and look forward to the future success of Thee Jackson State University. Not to be left out, the undergraduates joined in to help and participate in the hotspot and pep rally as the event increases the anticipation of the game on Saturday. Reunions between long lost friends, introductions of new friends, Greek pride, and University spirit all combined with music, food and vendors make this one of the most anticipated events.


Jackson State University hosted the 2015 “Let The Good Times Roar” Homecoming Greek Show on Oct. 23rd in the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center. The step show featured seven of the nine National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations performing various skits, including: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. won first place at the Greek Show with runner-up in second place Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. receiving third place.


Hundreds lined Dr. Robert Smith, Sr. Parkway for the second year in a row for the Homecoming Parade. While waiting for what is undoubtedly the main attraction, The Sonic Boom of the South, parade attendees cheered as more than 25 school bands, dance groups, 40 floats, 60 decorated cars and more, slowly made their way up the parkway on Saturday morning. The parade route travelled Dr. Robert Smith, Sr. Parkway and ended at the corner where it ended at the corner of Dalton and John R. Lynch. Friends, family, and the Jackson community came out to support and congratulate the university.


The Jackson State University Tigers won the Homecoming Game in blowout fashion in front of nearly 20,000 fans. The Tigers defeated University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions 37-3 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium on Oct. 24 during the annual Homecoming festivities. This was the first win for interim Head Coach Derrick McCall. Sophomore QB Jarin Morikawa from Mililani, Hawaii, recorded his first career start for the Tigers. Morikawa is the first native of Hawaii to start at quarterback for JSU. He completed 25 of 40 passes for 333 yards and three passing touchdowns. Jackson State finished the game with 28 rushing attempts and 40 passing attempts. Offensively, the Tigers totaled 469 yards of offense (333 passing yards and 136 rushing yards) with 22 first down and 3 penalties for 15 yards.


JSU’s Homecoming festivities culminated Sunday with a gospel explosion headlined by BET’s All-Star “Sunday Best” winner Dathan Thigpen, and Grammy winning Tye Tribett. The two delivered a stirring performance in the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center. Thigpen, a JSU alum who won Season 8’s contest and has traveled the world spreading the Gospel, described coming back to Jackson for JSU’s Homecoming celebration as pure joy. In previous years, Thigpen performed with the Mississippi Mass Choir and was a band member of the legendary JSU Sonic Boom. Beyond his music, the mass communication major had worked as an adjunct instructor at JSU.

2015 Fall Edition


Higgins sees “

in her success The 76th Miss Jackson State University: Charence Higgins By: Orionna Brumfield Photos by: Rodney McGee


o L.I.M.I.T.S: No Losing Insight on My Intelligence, Talent, and Service is the platform Charence Higgins implemented long before winning the official title of Miss Jackson State University. Daughter of John and Daphne Higgins, niece of JSU alums, granddaughter of JSU alum grandparents, a sister, and cousin to current JSU students, Higgins is a part of the fourth generation Jacksonians who were born to bleed blue and white. Higgins, a senior dual major in psychology and theater from Madison, Miss., is elated to represent her university as the 76th Miss Jackson State. She plans


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to implement the intelligence, talent, and service components of her platform to their fullest potential. “The service component particularly focuses on the deaf community because I feel like that’s a largely ignored community especially for our university being in such close proximity to the Mississippi School of Death and Blind. With the intelligence component, I’m partnering with the Honors College as well as different research programs and I’m doing bi-semester tutoring sessions before midterms to bring everyone together to get those tutoring resources that they normally wouldn’t know about. With the talent component,

I’m working on planning a talent show next semester involving every performance and arts organization on campus to show students that they do have an outlet for their talent. You see so many students walking around campus singing, but they don’t have any way to express themselves, so I really want to help students build those connections,” said Higgins. Of course, all of the plans for No L.I.M.I.T.S did not happen overnight. Higgins’ biggest fan is her mom, Daphne Higgins, a 1983 JSU alumnus from Clarksdale, Miss., who supported her along the way. Mrs. Higgins has truly enjoyed every step of the journey, from helping her

“..You’re a no limits kind of


daughter with the platform, to seeing her reign as the 2015-2016 Miss Jackson State University. “The proud mother in me says that my child is a very talented and gifted young lady and she was not quite sure which of her talents she would pull into her platform. She knew what she wanted to do, but she didn’t know how to incorporate it all. We were just sitting around talking and I said ‘don’t put any limits on yourself, you’re a no limits kind of girl’. Charence said, ‘Oh momma, that’s perfect!’, from that point on, she actually built her platform’” said the proud mother. “She has a service heart, truly, and any gift that she possesses she tries to share with others.” A no limits kind of girl describes this queen perfectly. She has been an active member in more than 10 on-campus organizations while meeting new students, making new friends, and finding new mentors/professors to be inspired by since her freshman year at JSU. Her active involvement, above average grades, and humble personality led her to become Miss JSU, but this is definitely a heavy load to carry for any student. How did she balance it all? “Right now, I have a 3.85 GPA, so time management is everything! I definitely encourage students to be involved, but I also encourage them not to take on more than they can handle. I do want to stress that I did not join all of those organizations at the same time. Over the course of my four years here, I’ve joined those organizations. I think knowing yourself and what you can do, and not stretching yourself too thin is definitely

what advice I’d give to any student wanting to get involved on campus,” said Higgins. Higgins’ brother, also a student at JSU is proud to see his big sister’s dreams come true. “She’s still that annoying sister who used to bother me,” said Jonathan Pendleton Hig-gins. The sophomore elementary major also from Madison, Miss., watched his sister literally speak her dreams into existence through hard work and dedication. He said that he would’ve definitely voted for her even if she wasn’t his sister. “I helped her campaign. I put flyers up on the campus, I met very interesting people and sources say that I got the freshmen votes! Her leadership inspires me to do future leadership roles, she’s a genuine person. Everything she says she going to do, she will do it. Everything that she talks about, even if it doesn’t get done right now, it will get done. That’s what I know for sure,” said Jonathan. Over the course of four years, Higgins figured out who she was before she developed interests in anything, especially Miss Jackson State, which she has dreamed of becoming since she was little girl. She knew that she would have to have confidence in herself before influencing others. She also accepted that her future goals would not be achievable without certain obstacles along the way. “A queen is a servant celebrity. You have the dual task of not only serving and giving back in every way that you can, but also being under the spotlight. With the

spotlight comes scrutiny, so I would say in order to pursue that queendom, you’ve got to have confidence. You’ve got to have unshakeable confidence and just know that I’m doing this because I have a purpose, I have a reason, and I want to inspire people, period. Once you find your platform it’s easy from there. The hardest part is staying focused,” said Higgins. Arekia Bennett, a senior physics major from Tylertown, Miss., watched Charence as she blossomed into a queen. Being Miss Jackson State University was one of Bennett’s dreams, but she was unable to compete. She was overjoyed to assist Charence as her campaign manager and watch her fulfill the title. “I gave her all my energy. Every ounce of energy that I would’ve given myself, I gave to her so that’s what made it easy. Seeing her win and being a part of that experience was heart-warming for me,” said Bennett. Besides being queen, Higgins is a student first. She is still embracing the title when people refer to her as the queen. “People will come up to me and say, “Hey, Miss Jackson State!” and I look around like where is she, and I realize it’s me! It’s really awesome and a great opportunity. I really just want to thank the student body for trusting me with having the University as my title. I don’t just see it as Miss Jackson State University, I see it as your University, and you’ve entrusted me with the opportunity to represent you. Everything I can possibly do to serve the campus and to serve the one before me, I will do,” said Higgins.

2015 Fall Edition



TIGERS 2015-2016 SGA President Rashad Moore By: Ashton D. Nash


n Jackson, Miss., a city filled with hospitality, love and Tiger blood, Rashad J. Moore has emerged as an ambitious and determined young man ready to give the people what they want…Moore! Moore, Jackson State University’s 70th Student Government Association President, reflects on where his love for JSU began. At an early age, Moore heard tales of JSU from family who were also alumni and decided JSU was the place he would one day call home. “’Choose Jackson State, I Did’ was embedded in me at a young age because I grew up in the Jackson area. I had family that went here and most people do not know that I was even a Baby Tiger,” said Moore. Choosing to attend JSU and continuing his family’s legacy was an easy choice for Moore. He had the opportunity


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to attend other colleges but decided to stick with the hometown and family favorite, JSU. Moore said, “I’m pretty sure there are other pristine universities out there but my heart was more so set on JSU.” With love for JSU already embedded in his DNA, Moore’s focused his goals on becoming a student activist during his college experience and lives by the quote, “We must be diligent in our efforts, we must stay consistent in our actions and we must sacrifice for the betterment of the whole.” ‘It’s Time for Moore’ was the platform he would use to advocate for the growth of JSU and its students through service, unity and leadership. Moore is a criminal justice major and the son of Keisha Jackson, a proud JSU alum. Throughout his tenure at JSU, Moore’s compassion and Tiger pride helped him develop a

love for people. He enjoys being involved and the accolades that come from hard work. “I’m a person that likes to work for the selective whole of the people and not a select few,” said Moore. Over the past four years, he has dedicated his time to volunteering his leadership skills by serving as Freshman Class Business Manager, Mr. Sophomore, Mr. Junior and now he leads and serves as SGA President. Moore is also an active member of many organizations on campus, including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Maddrama Performance Troupe, Kai Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. During the spring of 2014, Jacksonians watched one of the most intense campaign seasons of all time. However, when the election process was over, Moore rose above expectations and became the newly elected leader. He compares the feeling of the announcement that he won the SGA position with how an actor “It reignites for feels when he gets a callback for a movie. me that you “I really do not know how shouldn’t let to explain it but it took a lot to others dictate register that I actually won and it was just so surreal. It was truly your future for humbling and I remember that you, no matter it is my duty to serve those who how many elected me as their leader,” he people are said. against it.” Moore said the accomplishment of becoming JSU’s 70th SGA President refueled his determination to reach for the top. “With all the trials and tribulations that I faced, there were also successes, especially after being told that you can’t do something and then in reality accomplishing those tasks and goals. It reignites for me that you shouldn’t let others dictate your future for you, no matter how many people are against it,” he stated. Moore believes that grasping hold to your own future endeavors and going after them for self-satisfaction rather than social satisfaction will be more rewarding for the individual, an ideal learned from his greatest inspiration, his mother. “My mom was my biggest support system outside of my friends because she was there to solicit advice and feedback

when needed and making sure that I stayed prepared throughout everything and also give me everything that I needed,” said Moore. With much excitement, Moore gives insight on his plans to give students more during the academic school year. “First, I’m working on the JSU shuttle app which will alleviate some of the issues students have with the shuttle and will allow the students to know where the shuttle is at all times. Also, the Moore Education Initiative will implement more computers and printers in residence halls to aid student’s educational endeavors and will increase the importance of the study rooms in the residence halls as well,” said Moore. Moore wants the students to truly know that he cares about their wants and that he will work hard to protect the interests of his peers. Moore admits that the position of SGA President does come with a fair amount of stress and is quite time consuming, but says he knew the drawbacks of the position before he ran. But a teacher gave him tips to handle his stress. “Dr. Taylor is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. She said that a lot of times people overlook the magnitude of what you do but when you stop and self-evaluate, you will have a better way to approach things. So a suggestion would be to take fifteen minutes of everyday to yourself and reflect on how your day was, what you can do the next day to make that day better than before.” Still contemplating his plans post-graduation, Moore stated that he is looking at all options available to him and wants to keep an open mind to whatever possibilities and opportunities that may present itself. “We plan so much of our lives rather than just living life instead and allowing things to come to us. If I had to say one thing I would do after graduation, it would be something that makes me happy,” said Moore. The legacy of a job well done is what Moore wants to leave at JSU, stating that he wants the students to feel that he gave his all to make a better JSU. “I want the work I’ve done to provide more opportunities for Jacksonians to be remembered three or four years from now. That’s the legacy I want people to remember. I want this year to be the foundation and for the work to continue to better the University,” said Moore.

2015 Fall Edition





e r Executive i e Board n Members c e

Those who have eXperienced a MADDRAMA Performance Troupe production instantly understand that this is no ordinary theater and performance group. MADDRAMA is an acronym for “Making a Difference Doing Respectable and Meaningful Art.” The organization, which was founded by Dr. Mark G. Henderson, chair of the Speech and Theatre Department and artistic director for the troupe, recently celebrated its 11th year anniversary on the campus of Jackson State University. Members of this organization use current issues to inspire and captivate audiences through every form of art. Members of MADDRAMA all share the same purpose, to educate and to entertain. Below, some of the members share their most memorable eXperience as a MADDRAMA member and why they wear their red and black so proudly.

Jayla Lomax

Sophomore Music Technology Jackson, Miss. “My best eXperience so far with MADDRAMA Performance Troupe is every time we grace the stage, whether it’s educating or entertaining. My overall eXperience as a member has been amazing. MADDRAMA has brought something out of me I never knew I had. I love my MADDRAMA family like I love my real family and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

Joseph Henderson

Sophomore Speech Communications Los Angeles, Calif. “My favorite eXperience with MADDRAMA is having the opportunity to portray Medgar Evers in front of his wife, Mrylie Evers, and seeing her face light up. After the performance, she hugged me and said ‘thank you for portraying my husband that way, his legacy will continue’. Being a member of MADDRAMA is amazing and it taught me so many things about myself on stage and offstage that will go with me for the rest of my life. Having the opportunity to get in front of an audience to educate and entertain is an experience that MADDRAMA allows to you have.”


The eXperience Magazine

Joyce Winston

Senior Biology/Pre-Dentistry Detroit, Mich. “My favorite eXperience is performing at different high schools and the students that come up to me afterwards saying how our performance encouraged them to attend college and strive for better. My overall eXperience as a member is growing as a performer, learning about myself as a leader and educating others by making a difference doing respectable and meaningful art!”

Kennedy Jones

Sophomore Mass Communication Blytheville, Ark. “My favorite eXperience as a MADDRAMA member would have to be participating in reader’s theater during NADSA week. It was one of the most stressful weeks since becoming a member of MADDRAMA but it brought me closer to the other members who participated. We laughed, we cried, and we fought, but in the end we were tighter than ever and we still are. My overall eXperience has been amazing. When I first came to Jackson State, I didn’t know anybody. MADDRAMA is where I found my friends and also where I discovered my new found love of performing.”

Jamarion Wright

Junior Speech Communication Jackson, Miss. “My favorite eXperience being a part of MADDRAMA has to be when we ventured to Atlanta for the Honda! We performed for recruitment and it was a blast doing what I love while making students see that JSU is the only place to be! Being a member of MADDRAMA has really made my eXperience at JSU one for the books! If you are looking for me, I’m either on stage or getting ready to go on stage!”

Anetra Yearwood

Senior Graphic Design Landover, Md. “My favorite eXperience with MADDRAMA Performance Troupe would have to be spear heading the new membership orientation. Knowing that I’m responsible for welcoming other people into our family and teaching them the ins and outs of our organization was amazing. Though I’ve only been in MADDRAMA for two years, learning and respecting another art was one of the best experiences of my college career. Every member I’ve ever encountered was so inviting, it made me glad that I decided to join this talented, loving, caring family.”

Nigel Davenport

Junior Psychology & Speech Communications Vicksburg, Miss. “My favorite MADDRAMA eXperience has been working in conjunction with the university in recruitment tours. Traveling to various places is stimulating, but the overall interaction with students, whether they be elementary or high school, definitely has been my favorite part. It allows me to express my art, as well as display my love for my institution.”

William H. Kelly III

Sophomore Mass Communication Houston, Texas “I would honestly have to say that I do not have a specific favorite eXperience as a MADDRAMA member. I have been in MADDRAMA for one year and I have enjoyed basically every second of it. From becoming a member and bonding with my SCENE sibs, to being on stage, whether it be a performance or play production, and most of all spending time with each other has been wonderful. Doc and Prince along with the other members of MADDRAMA have been some of my biggest supporters from day one and they are the true definition of family. We argue and we have obstacles just as anyone else but at the end of the day, we all serve the same purpose, to educate and entertain.”

2015 Fall Edition


By: Jorrie Jones, Orionna Brumfield and Cory Davis

“I am a full-time student, wife and guardian” Deirdra Harris Glover, a junior mass communication major from Jackson, Miss., has been married to her husband Matthew for ten years. In addition to balancing married life with school, Harris Glover took custody of her younger sibling five years ago. To add to the stresses of balancing family life with academia, Glover also suffers from chronic autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease affects up to 50 million Americans, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. “I built my schedule so that it would allow me to do important things for my family, like ferry my sibling to and from school. My husband Matthew and I meet up on Mondays around 5 p.m. and have a walking date at Renaissance because I have a class in Madison.” When things become stressful, having a positive support team helps Glover get back on track. “Sometimes, things conflict so I’m always trying to stay ahead of the work. I feel if my professors know I’m engaged and hungry for the material, they will be kinder to me when life crushes my carefully laid out plans,” said Glover. Staying focused in class can be very challenging for Glover but she is excelling in her discipline and has become a go-to person for many in the School of Journalism and Media Studies. “If you strip back money and ego, the only thing that we have to give is our time and attention. I owe it to myself to give whatever obstacle or task in front of me my attention. If I’m in class, I owe my professor my attention,” said Glover.


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“I am a full-time student and a fashion designer” Sierra Jackson is a senior marketing major from Huntsville Ala. who found a love for fashion at a very early age. When she reached JSU, she knew she wanted to pursue it on a more professional level. “I’ve been designing clothes since I was a child. I would get in trouble with my mother because I would cut up the clothes she bought me and turn them into my own designs! But I’ve “officially” been designing since my freshman year of college.” As she matriculated through school, she developed her own denim clothing company, “Filthy Broke Fashion”, a name mixed by her love for fashion and the grind process. “Basically, if you have a dream, pursue it no matter what..keep grinding until you go from ‘filthy broke to filthy rich’!” Along with her clothing company, Jackson used her marketing skills to manage a Youtube channel as well as a blog to document her journey as a clothing designer and anything else she experiences. “I’m always thinking of different ways to reach my target audience and YouTube/blogging were more outlets to do so. I also plan to become an entrepreneur with multiple sources of income, so that is something else that motivated me to be more than just a designer. I am just mixing all the things I love (fashion, marketing, and entrepreneurship) and trying to make a living off of it.” With all of the entrepreneurial ideas, designing, blogging, and youtubing Jackson quickly adopted the time management skill. She is now a graduating senior. “I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy, but nothing worth having is ever easy. I just try to keep that phrase in my head as I’m trying to manage my time wisely between school and my business. I also set a specific time to dedicate to schoolwork and business work so that the two do not clash.”

I am a Jackson State University student and… Walking down the Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway at Jackson State University, you will encounter many interesting and unique students who all have a story to tell. Many entering the hallowed halls of academia at JSU did not have many hardships or challenges to overcome. Some only had to decide what to major in and what school they would begin this endeavor. However, others faced unique and special circumstances that have made their goals of obtaining a degree more difficult, but also more meaningful. The eXperience Magazine takes a look at some of these students whose drive to succeed will not be hindered by any circumstance put in their path.

“I am a full-time student and a full-time mother” Mari’Onna Bailey’s journey at Jackson State University began in the fall of 2012. Before starting her first semester, she discovered that she was five months pregnant. “So many people asked me what was I going to do about school, how would I provide for my daughter, and who would keep her while I’m at school and working. The only thing that was on my mind was when will she arrive and how hard I was going to work to graduate on time,” said Bailey, a senior family and education major from Port Gibson, Miss. Bailey knew she was going to have some challenging times raising a child and going to school, but she did not let that affect her grades. “I’ve always been a school geek or whatever. I ranked number 10 in my high school class, so I expected no less when I started school at JSU. My overall goal was to maintain a GPA above a 3.5,” she stated. Although she did not have much of a social life at JSU, she accomplished the goals she set for herself without complaining about life’s challenges. Bailey is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. To become a member, students need to have a 3.5 GPA or higher. “Any mothers that are in school or trying to go to school, I advise them to never give up. Of course there are going to be times where you want to throw in the towel, but there are so many things to remember [like] there is a child depending on you, and that God will guide you through. Everything you do now, determines the future and well being of your children! They don’t deserve to struggle. Struggle so they won’t have to!” Bailey will graduate with her Bachelor of Science degree in childcare and family education in Spring 2016. After graduation, she plans to continue working at her current daycare while gaining her director’s certification.

“I am a full-time student and a fashion designer” Henry Goss, a fashionforward student on the campus of Jackson State University is known by many for his participation in student government and political activism on the campus. However, others recognize him for his meticulous attention to detail in his style of dress, or as he puts it, his ‘Amazin Style’. Goss, a senior mass communication major from Jackson, Miss., is a budding fashion designer who has been creating edgy and eye-catching fashion including: eyewear, stylish ties, tailored accessories, men’s wear and everything in-between. Goss turned his vision and sense of fashion into reality with the launching of his very own fashion brand, Amazin Style, in early 2015. Getting his inspiration from articles, books, magazines and friendly advice, Goss took the initiative to fully pursue his passion by creating his own brand. Goss uses social media as one of his main marketing strategies. He utilizes social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with his audience and promote his business. In addition, Goss has also developed his own website where consumers can purchase merchandise. “Once people started buying into the brand, they would tell their friends about my line, or sometimes they would repost and share my statuses. More people want to get engaged and that usually attracts more business for me,” said Goss. He added: “When I first started, I honestly did not expect my brand to be this big nor did I expect to see people outside of Mississippi supporting me, but to see the way that others are being supportive shows me the true potential that I have when it comes to my business.” Believing that you can reach your goals and attain your dreams with hard work, determination and talent, Goss hopes his story will encourage youth to be more open minded to becoming an entrepreneurs.

2015 Fall Edition


Health & Wellness



he “Freshman 15” is one the most talked about myths among college students. Students entering the hallowed halls of posthigh school academia are warned constantly to beware of the dreaded weight gain that plagues many incoming college students. But is this myth a reality? Is it really 15 pounds? Is it more? Is it less? More importantly, what can college students due to avoid this dreaded curse? The Freshman 15 is a phrase that refers to the weight gained by many incoming freshmen, usually 15 pounds, but some students, like Valencia Shavers, suggest that 15 pounds has increased to almost 25 pounds, which makes this myth even scarier for some freshmen. Shavers was one of the freshmen who heard of the myth but paid no heed to the dire warning. “I was consistently eating because I finally had the freedom to eat and structure my life like I wanted, I gained at least 20 pounds


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By: Aneshia Becton

my freshman year, but one of the main contributions to my weightgain was my alcohol consumption,” said Shavers. According to, there are many factors that can contribute to weight gain for incoming college students; a decrease in regular physical activity or sports involvement, dining halls with unlimited food choices, increased snacking, and drinking more caloric beverages such as high-fat, sugary coffee drinks, soda, energy drinks and alcohol. Alcohol consumption among incoming freshmen is a major contributor of weight gain. According to national surveys conducted by the University of Central Florida, drinking problems often start with the way that college is portrayed on media; freshmen come in expecting it to be that way.

Unfortunately, many students do not see the consequences of regular alcoholic drinking in the media. Alcoholic beverages add unwanted calories to your diet and drinking also increases your appetite. According to Dr. Shane Sims, M.D. of Women’s Health Associates in Flowood, Miss., the Freshman 15 is very real. “Being out late, very late and nothing open but a pizza shacks, I’m going to eat pizza! I remember my freshman year of college and I absolutely gained weight, but not as much as females that were along with me, but I did noticeably gain weight. Being away from home and getting the freedom to eat exactly what you want, when you want will sometimes severely impact your weight. The Freshman 15 has significantly increased to an estimated 20-to-25 pounds depending on your surroundings, and what food choices are available,” said Dr. Sims. The Legacy Dining Hall at Jackson State offers unlimited

choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including limitless refills beverages. While offering many health food options, including salad bars and low-calorie meal options, many students can be seen consuming the not-so healthy options including pizza, pasta, cheeseburgers, fries and desserts. This coupled with inactivity among non-athletic students increases the chances of weight gain. There are also other factors that can contribute to weight gain among freshmen. According to Ohio State University researchers, it is not college that leads to weight gain; it is becoming a young adult. Some college students say the freedom of being out of your parents’ home and not being under a microscope is the main contributor to their weight gain. Dres Whitlock, a fitness worker at the JSU Recreation Complex, agrees with Dr. Sims. “A lot of kids don’t have the opportunity enough to eat (freely) at home. I think the new Magic Johnson cafe is very helpful with portion control,” said Whitlock. According to, on average women gain more weight than men. Body fat content is 25 percent for women at normal size

compared to 15 percent for men. Female hormones make it easier to convert fat into food. In an environment like a college campus, exercise is key. Fortunately, Jackson State has tools available for non-athletes to exercise and balance there less than favorable diet at the recreational center. At the Rec Plex, there are gyms available for basketball and other sports, treadmills, bicycles and other exercise equipment is also available for student use at no cost. As Shavers reflects on her freshmen year, she realized that not only did the Freshmen 15 start from her freedom and the stress of school in general, but a poor sleeping habits as well. “My freshmen year, I almost never slept. Either I was doing research, partying, or just blatantly could not rest. Being older and being able to reflect on things, my sleeping habits were just as unhealthy as my food choices, and that’s the reason for my Freshmen 15,” said Shavers. The Freshmen 15 does not stop at 15 pounds, the more comfortable you become in your adult ways and unhealthy habits you continue over the years will only add to the controversial weight gain. Weight

gain in college in not unusual and is almost anticipated by most parents seeing their child off to start their life. “All those years in high school, hearing about the Freshmen 15 was always something I tried to avoid and undermine. I never saw myself gaining and always tried to dodge that bullet, but just like other life lessons, I fell for it. I honestly think the Freshmen 15 is a mental thing, I heard of others losing 15 pounds instead of gaining, it’s all due to how the individuals handle new environments,” said Shavers. Shavers’ advice to incoming freshmen who wish to avoid the Freshmen 15 is to exercise, eat healthy, get plenty of rest and keep an overall well-balanced diet. But most importantly, she urges all students to stay active, take advantage of the free campus recreational facilities and activities like the Rec Plex, the swimming pool in the T.B. Ellis Building, or sign up for cardio or cycling classes offered throughout the week. “Now that I eat regularly on a schedule and exercise at least five hours out of a week, I have control of my Freshmen 15, or Freshmen 20,” said Shavers.

2015 Fall Edition


By Shane Savannah Photos courtesy of JSU Global and Community Colleges


s an army brat, Cory Davis is no stranger to traveling and living in new places. However, the chance to travel abroad with the Passport to the World program provided the opportunity to do something he had never done before, travel internationally. After hearing about the program, offered by JSU Global, Davis along with 72 other students clamored for the chance to visit destinations only dreamed about.


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The endeavor was led by Dr. Priscilla Slade, special assistant to the Provost for JSU Global and Community Colleges. Slade said, “If we are going to educate global leaders as our mission statement reads, then we need to get students abroad.” She added: “There are many reasons why it’s more important now than ever before for students to gain a level of global competency prior to graduation. Technological advances have created a world without boundaries. Our

students must be able to compete for jobs globally. Study abroad increases employability and earning potential. Studies show that students that study abroad tend to have higher grades and have higher 4-year graduation rates. The Sage Research Project showed that over a 50-year period, study abroad had a positive long term effect on a persons’ career path and global engagement.” Through Passport to the World, the 73 students were exposed to many different cultures and ideologies

this past summer, and like Davis, many had never dreamed of being able to visit parts of the world that included: Madrid, Spain, Paris, France, Shanghai, China, Rio de Janiero, Santo Domingo, Dominican and Salvador Da Bahia, Brazil. “Studying abroad really allowed me to be more open to meeting new people,” said Davis. “This experience has allowed me to view the world from a totally new perspective. I’m honored that I embarked on such an amazing opportunity.” Tyra Greene, a junior graphic design major from Chicago, Ill., was selected to travel to Salvador da Bahia. “We visited a lot of churches and historical sites in Salvador da Bahia. We learned about candomle, which is a religion that slaves from Africa practiced. Since the slaves

couldn’t’t practice their own religion, they practiced candomle – a mixture of the catholic religion and African spirituality. I found that very interesting,” said Greene. Money was not a problem for most of the JSU students studying abroad. Scholarships and grants for their travel and lodging were provided as well as other monies from fundraisers. “Before the trip, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to pay for the trip but fortunately the University was able to get a lot of grants together for us and they were also able to offer us a lot of scholarships,” said Davis, a senior mass communication major from Vicksburg, Miss. Even with scholarships and grants, some students, like Davis, still had to pay a small amount. He believes that the experience was worth the investment. The four-week international travel experience was faculty-led and exposed students to new cultures, research opportunities, and experiential learning activities. Through this program students spent two weeks abroad and two weeks on the campus at JSU.

When the day came for the first group of students to begin their journey, many say the plane ride itself was an experience they will never forget. “It was nearly two hours from Jackson to Chicago. But from Chicago to Shanghai, it took 14 hours!” said Davis, who was very apprehensive about being on a plane for such a long period of time. “The turbulence flying over scared the hell out of me but after a few hours, I finally became comfortable.” Davis said that he really didn’t know what to expect upon arrival because he had only seen China in movies and documentaries, but the actual landing into China was a memory he will never forget. “It was simply beautiful,” said Davis. For some students, their fondest experiences came from their ability to connect with people of different cultures and customs. “Since I earned my bachelor’s degree in French, I’ve always wanted to be immersed in the French culture.

2015 Fall Edition



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This trip really gave me that opportunity, from hearing their language every day to eating there foods,” said Erica Handy, an English major from Jackson, Miss. who studied in Paris, France. Jameson Hamilton, whose international destination was Rio de Janiero, was most impressed by how nonmaterialistic the people in the country were, as opposed to people from the United States. “I was intrigued by seeing people’s everyday lives in comparison with our lives in the U.S. In the United States, people are so focused on image, but in Rio de Janiero, the people were more laid back,” said Hamilton, a senior civil engineering from Centreville, Miss. Shantwanza Hill, a junior forensic chemistry major minoring in sociology from Glendora, Miss. who studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro. “Traveling abroad has impacted my life with amazing information, and now I know my life will never be the same. Overall, my trip was awesome and I plan to study abroad next year,” said Hill. Other student participants said they learned to appreciate things they normally take for granted in their international destinations. “After weeks of eating foods native to China, I was so happy when we were given McDonalds for lunch one day,” said Davis. “I was never thought I would be so glad to see a McChicken and fries.” Davis jokingly added that McDonalds tastes the same everywhere. Most students in the program state that they were glad that instead of passing the summer away doing mundane things, they had the opportunity to experience other places and cultures. As people all over the world are still reeling from the terrorist bombings orchestrated by the al Qaeda faction, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or in Paris, on Nov. 13, 2015 and took the lives of 129 people and injured 350, many wonder if the study abroad programs offered by JSU will be affected. The attacks had victims from at least 19 nations and touched people in all parts of the world, including students at Jackson State University. Slade hopes that JSU students who want to study and travel abroad will not let the recent events dictate their desires. “I would imagine that there maybe a little apprehension of the students because of what’s in the media now. I would hope that we as Americans will never decide to live in fear. It doesn’t matter where you are. The news media has also said that New York and Washington D.C. are now targets, so are we not to go there? I would never recommend that [living in fear] to anyone, my children included because I have a son that lives in New York,” said Slade. “You don’t live in fear. We abide by the shelter of the almighty and he even has assigned personal angels to hold us up lest we cast away our feet against the stone. For those people who are fearful of anything, not just travel, Psalms 91 is there for the members of the household of faith. It tells you about your God, and how he protects you.” Slade also stated that safeguards are already in place to help protect students when they study abroad. “We do have a whole risk management level of activity for

anyone who studies abroad. Yes, students must sign a university form to get permission to travel abroad. We also have 24/7 emergency care for students. We have insurance, if they should get ill or anything like that. We work with the council on international educational exchange to provide a whole risk management package for our students. Students do not travel alone, they always travel in groups with the faculty as well as with staff on the ground with the counsel of international exchange,” said Slade. For those interested in joining the Passport to the World program next summer, there are a few requirements you must meet. 1. Must be a full-time student 2. Must have at least a 2.5 GPA 3. Must provide one letter of recommendation from JSU faculty or administrator Students must also attend an information session. Then think of potential place to go and research those places. Reach out to a Study Abroad coordinator and get ready to take flight. Finally, be prepared for the eXperience of a lifetime and just go!

2015 Fall Edition








The effects of marijuana use on academic performance


froman may have said it best with his “Because I Got High” song when he bemoaned the negative effects of drug use: I was gonna go to class before I got high I coulda cheated and I coulda passed but I got high I am taking it next semester and I know why ‘Cause I got high Because I got high Because I got high While many students may feel that smoking chronic, hash, kush, mary jane, keisha, ganja, skunk, loud, cannabis or whatever you want to call it, does not affect the academic performance of students, recent studies show that using the gateway drug marijuana can negatively affect your performance in college. One study, released by the University of Maryland


School of Public Health, connects marijuana use with problems with retention and performance in college. The study, published in in 2013, followed 1,200 college freshmen over a 10-year period and found that drugs, especially marijuana use, contributed to “college students skipping more classes, spending less time studying, earning lower grades, dropping out of college, and being unemployed after college.” Laquala M. Coleman, Associate Dean of Students at JSU, references another source that has also found that marijuana has negative physical and emotional effects on the users. These effects include: distorted perception, rapid heartbeat, loss of balance

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and coordination, difficulty thinking or problem-solving, decreased reaction time, impairments in short-term memory, learning, listening, judgment and perception, anxiety, and paranoia. All of which she states can affect students academically. “As a result of these statistics, students need to be mindful of their decisions. While their intent may be to purchase marijuana and use marijuana leisurely, it could possibly be laced with other chemicals or drugs they are unaware of, which could be detrimental to their well-being.,” said Coleman. “Ultimately, temporary satisfaction is not worth a lifetime of pain for students and potentially loved ones if students are negatively affected or their death is a result of drug use.”

Kristen Martin, a sophomore accounting major from Lucia, La., believes that marijuana use does affect students academic performance. “I do feel that marijuana can affect your grades negatively, because sometimes certain students cannot handle the marijuana. They can let it overtake them and they do not show up to class, and instead of doing their work they are smoking and rolling and breaking down,” said Martin. Sophomore graphic design major Dontae Wesley stated that some people specifically use marijuana to perform better in class but feels that the opposite is happening. “I feel that marijuana can negativity effect your grades at school. Some people take small doses, they say to help them focus, but it does distract

people very badly,” said Wesley, a Louisiana native. In spite of all the data and statistics available showing the harmful effects of marijuana, some students still contend that marijuana does not affect academic performance. Dashawna Wright, a senior mass communications major from Chicago, Ill. stated that although she does not indulge in the use of marijuana, she supports the right for others to do so. ‘‘I have family that uses it [marijuana] both medically and casually. I actually I have a cousin that owns his own marijuana shop, it’s legal. But I don’t know, to each his own. If you want to indulge in that, than you have to right to. No one should tell you what you can and cannot do. Especially if it legal in certain areas,” said Wright. “I feel that it’s touchy because it’s not a hard drug like crack, or cocaine, or heroine or meth, it’s marijuana. I think it just depends on the person.’’ Christopher Russell, HIV/Drug Prevention Specialist for the Interdisciplinary Alcohol and Drug Studies Center at Jackson State, cautions students who believe that marijuana does not affect students academically to read the findings published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. “I have heard so many myths about marijuana not having an effect on academic performance. Some people even claim that it can actually make you smarter. This study finds that smoking marijuana can permanently lower intelligence or IQ. More concerning, those who smoked heavily prior to the age

of 18 could have a reduction in IQ up to 8 points.” said Russel. “To put this in perspective, individuals with an IQ of 110 have an average net worth of $71,000 and individuals with an IQ of 120 have an average net worth of $128,000. Having a marijuana habit can be very expensive but it seems like you could be losing money in more ways than one.” Russell added: “This affects your brain permanently, because during adolescence the brain is still developing. I often let students know that our brains aren’t fully developed until the age of 25 and drugs that we put in our bodies before that time could affect our brain

development.” Russell also believes that media attention and the “harmless” label that marijuana has been given over the last few years will cause more college students to try marijuana. “I believe that analyzing research in states that legalize marijuana for recreational use would better clarify if college students would use this drug. Overall, there is a need for more research and data surrounding the use and harms of marijuana. Once this is done, it will give us a clear perspective on how this drug affects our communities,” stated Russell. Regardless of how you feel about the issue

of marijuana use affecting academic performance, JSU has a zero tolerance stance on the use and possession of illegal drugs on the campus and acknowledges and adheres to the laws of the state of Mississippi. The University also complies with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. The possession or use of illegal drugs on the University’s campus is strictly prohibited. According to the JSU Student Handbook, appearing in public on the University premises while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs is strictly prohibited. This includes any disorderly conduct regardless of whether such conduct results in injury to persons or property, as a result of intoxication. Coleman also stated that during the 2013-2014 school year at JSU, The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, which is housed in the Dean of Students Office, charged 48 students with possessing marijuana or an illegal drug or being in the vicinity of the odor. This number increased to 62 during the 2014-2015 school term. So, before you get high, if the knowledge that you may be lowering your IQ and chances for success after graduation, if you graduate, students should know that if found in violation of JSU’s policy on drug possession on campus, you could face sanctions that include: Fine $500 and/or Probation and/or Counseling Consultation and/ or Community Service; Loss of Privileges, Suspension, or Expulsion. ‘Cause you got high Because you got high Because you got high Tierra Woods Contributed to this story

2015 Fall Edition


nna o i r O ld By: rumfie B


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Students promote awareness of sexual assault on college campuses

The prevalence of sexual assault against female students on college campuses throughout the country have led some students at Jackson State University to come together to bring awareness to this issue. In Oct. of 2015 a candlelight vigil was held for victims of sexual assault, spearheaded by the spoken word campus organization, Outspoken. “We did a candlelight vigil for victims to mourn the death of their innocence. We prayed over all of the victims of sexual abuse and every one that had gone through rape in general, whether it be on or off campus,” said NaTosha DeVon, a senior theatre major from Chicago, Ill. Another group of students decided to take their activism a step further. Organized into action by senior physics major Arekia Bennett, male and female students participated in a rally on Oct. 16 to bring awareness to sexual assault and the often silent suffering the victims endure. “I wanted to educate my JSU sisters on their rights as women. Not enough are we having these conversations about what’s acceptable and unacceptable. I wanted to change the dynamic of what role women play in their lives as decision makers, that they can thrive outside of JSU as fierce and fabulous as possible,” said Bennett, a Jackson, Miss. native. After receiving so much

support during the rally, organizers decided to form an organization called G.I.R.L (Getting Information Related to Ladies). G.I.R.L is in the process of becoming an official campus organization and has garnered support from the non-profit organization, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance. If approved, the JSU chapter would be one of only five FMLAs (Feminist Majority Leadership Alliances) founded on an HBCU campus. Frances White, director of the Latasha Norman Center, for Counseling is pleased that students are taking a proactive stance against sexual assault and domestic violence. “We are here to witness what these awesome people are doing, they’re breaking the silence for domestic violence on college campuses,” said White. “October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In honor of our counseling center that was named after the young lady who died of domestic violence, Latasha Norman, we really support the effort into decreasing campus violence against women [or men] on college campuses.” Thomas Albright, Chief of Police for the JSU Department of Safety, urges all students to practice precaution and utilize the services of Public Safety. “If you’re by yourself and you make a call to 2580, an officer will come assist you and walk to where you need to go… it’s publicized, that’s the general number of public safety,” said Albright, who added that escorts are available for all students, staff and faculty.

Outspoken Arts Collective and JSU students during the rally against sexual violence.

Albright also stated that Public Safety has plans in place for female students who have been victims of sexual assault or any violence. “We do have female officers, also we use Title IX, and they’ll accommodate us when we have situations like this. Also, the Latasha Norman [Center is available]. There are several outlets out there that they can report [any kind of incident or fear]. First contact us, and we’ll give them further directions,” said Albright. Although the rally was held to support female students, men came out to support as well.

“I came out here representing the males who support the rights of women to say no. If it was your family, you’d be the first to [do something about it] so why are more men not doing this?” said Christopher Chisholm, a senior criminal justice major from Jackson, Miss. “Let’s stop the violence, period.” Some of the participants in the rally want to see more protection policies and police patrols around campus. “We would like to have more visible security on campus, lights in areas where you can’t see. At our health center, we would like to have STI testing and emergency c o nt r a c e p t i o n with no wait, on demand so we can have it for victims and those who are not” said Aja Brim,

“We are here to witness what these awesome people are doing, they’re breaking the silence for domestic violence on college campuses.”

- Frances White

a sophomore vocal performance major form Austin, Texas. Bennett, with the help of other students, invited a few leaders in the community and on the campus of JSU to come out and discuss sexual assault awareness at a panel discussion held on Oct. 28 in the JSU Welcome Center. The panelists included: Kimberly Hunt, City of Jackson Mayor’s Youth Initiative Coordinator; Edwith Theogene, campus organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation; Kesha Varnell, Coordinator of Student Leadership and Wellness at JSU; Kendall Bunch, Special Interest Senator; Antwon D. Woods, JSU doctoral student and adjunct professor); and Valencia Robinson, HIV/ Trans-health coordinator. Throughout the discussion, panelists answered questions dealing with sexual misconduct and other related issues. One of the most

popular questions asked dealt with men disrespecting ladies on campus. Bunch was not afraid to admit that some men can be disrespectful at times, but he does advise his fraternity brothers not to engage in that activity no matter what. “Before I crossed, they [my sorority sisters and fraternity brothers] told me to remember who I was and where I came from and to never disrespect a lady because I would see a lot of that going on, on a college campus. When I got into it, I just remembered what they told me,” said Bunch. These events are one of many that G.I.R.L plans to hold regarding issues on or off campus. “Our presence is already felt on campus and we make an impact, not just noise. So [G.I.R.L] becoming official so that we can maneuver better is the next thing on our agenda” said Bennett.

2015 Fall Edition




g in text

and I can’t get


By: Tiffanie Herron

“I thought I was going to die,” said Christopher Smiley. Smiley, a senior business administration major from Crystal Springs, Miss. saw his life flash before his eyes as the blinding headlights of an 18-wheeler truck drew closer towards him in the oncoming traffic lane. The semi blew its horn loudly and he immediately swerved his car over across the median and pulled over to the other side of the road. He took a deep breath and gathered himself. His heart was still pounding away madly from fright. “I was scared as hell,” he said. “When I looked up, I was dead in the opposite lane of the truck. I wasn’t in my lane any more. I tried to swerve over but it was raining and I couldn’t see. I was too close coming up to him and I was going too fast. In my heart, I felt like I was going to die.” What was the cause of Smiley’s near death accident? Was it probably the sleekness of the slippery rain drenched


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Despite its entertaining features, social media also opens the door for people to become victims of cyber-crime such as identity theft, cyber-bullying, harassment, and stalking. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, approximately 269,422 Internet crime complaints were sent to the FBI with Mississippi being ranked #37 in the country for its Internet crime rate. “Social media has become an invasion of privacy and full of over sharing. I was stalked, threatened, and harassed by someone on a social media site before,” said Jason Rodriguez, a computer science major from California. “I didn’t even know who the person was threatening me on the other end and I felt violated. They were threatening my girlfriend and me at the time. They knew things they shouldn’t have known. They knew when we texted, when we Skyped, and they could even read all of our messages on Facebook. It caused me to cut off ties to basically everyone I was close to at the time in an attempt to make sure this person was cut off from my life.” There are many ways that a person can prevent themselves from becoming victims of cyber-crime from social media. According to the Association for Progressive Communications, the best and most effective way for a person to protect themselves from becoming victims of cyber-crime is to be careful and aware of what personal information he or she shares and posts online in emails and on social networking sites. Neil Vidyarthi, in an interview for Social Times, an online publication covering social media said, “To fight social media addiction people should limit themselves to knowing that they can have only one to two hours per day to use social media.” Smiley has learned his lesson after his near fatal wreck. “I’m addicted to social media, so to stop my addiction I’ve decided to delete some social media apps off my phone like Facebook so I can get back in touch with reality,” said Smiley. “I’m also trying to keep my eyes off my phone when they are supposed to be on the road.”

“Because of the use of social media, we can’t communicate civilly.” highway? Or perhaps it was the rugged tires of his 2001 Toyota Camry? Neither, it was his Android smartphone. While he was driving down Highway 42 on his way to visit a friend, Smiley was also texting away on his phone. His attention constantly shifted from the road to his phone screen and back to the road again. “When I drive, I have one eye on my phone and one on the road,” said Smiley. “I merged over into the oncoming traffic lane by accident because I was looking at Facebook Messenger on my phone.” Smiley isn’t the only person who has succumbed to the temptation of the constant use of social media. According to an online study by, an estimated 2.3 billion people in the world are active social media users and spend an average of 17 minutes per day on a social media site. Some people argue that although social media was originally created to connect us together globally, in actually it has separated us ad disconnected us as a society. “Because of the use of social media, we can’t communicate civilly. We as a society have forgotten simple civil discourse thanks to social media,” said Marshall Ramsey, editorial cartoonist for The Clarion Ledger who also teaches a social

media class in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at the Jackson State University. “It has also made our attention span a whole lot shorter.” Students at Jackson State have felt the sting of social media having a negative effect on their lives. Some professors have a strict no cellphone or no electronic gadget policy which states that the use of social media while in class will result in expulsion from class for that day. Many students have been kicked out of class because they failed to pay attention to the professor’s lectures and felt the need to pay more attention to who liked their pictures on Facebook or followed them on Instagram on their phones. “I got caught using my phone in my criminology class once,” said Andrew Kelly Jr., a criminal justice major from Bolton, Miss. “I was scrolling down my Instagram page when my teacher caught me and kicked me out of class for the day. I missed an entire class worth of notes and did poorly on my next test all because of my phone.” Smiley has also been guilty of accessing his phone instead of paying attention in class. “I use social media because it’s entertaining but I’ve gotten caught with my phone in class many times,” said Smiley.

2015 Fall Edition


By: Dashawna Wright and Kristen Blanks

“I’m from the Westside of Chicago, Illinois (Leamington & Huron) to be exact. I’m from a neighborhood where everything goes wrong and I’m one of the few that happened to make it out.” But he just didn’t make it out, senior Tracy Carr is winning! Carr has taken his desire to succeed and creative skills to a whole new level by designing and repairing custom made shoes. Carr started designing shoes because he wanted to use his creativ-ity to generate something different in his neighborhood. “When I was younger, everybody used to get the same pair of shoes and wear the same outfits. I always thought of myself as being an outsider, always being unique. One day I came up with the idea, because I didn’t have enough money to buy two or three pair of shoes, so I took a painting utensil and I changed the strap from a blackish to a silver color and it’s been history ever since,” said the Chicago native. The name of his business is TRVCY, which actually is an acronym for T R V C Y Remaining Victorious in Creating Yesterday’s Wave. Catchy right? His goal is simply to get


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people to use their creative minds and step outside of the box. “I want to bring something new to the table because I feel that different is good, besides who wants to stand in the crowd where we’re meant to stand out,” said Carr. Carr is a hardworking, creative young man, who takes pride in being able to do unique things such as: creating his own color scheme on shoes, drawing animation characters, making clothes that look different by distressing them or putting his own spin to it which he calls self-classy. The ultimate goal for Carr is designing and repairing shoes, but he looks forward to stepping into the fashion world in the future. His work is influenced by producer and fashion designer Pharrell Williams. Carr admires his work, dedication and the fact that he started his own business as well. “His style and creationism is flawless and it takes courage to create and wear the things that he does and kill the scene every time,” said Carr. Courage is indeed needed for Carr, who grew up in one of the most crime-ridden and notorious neighborhoods in

“I’m from a neighborhood where everything goes wrong and I’m one of the few that happened to make it out.”

“I cannot stress this enough, God has been most merciful within my life, making yes’s happen when I should’ve received no’s. It’s nothing but God.”

Chicago. Trying to stay positive about the future is hard for many young men from this area, but not Carr. He was determined to get out of the Leamington and Huron neighborhood, where he has seen close friends and relatives fall victim to the streets. After the arrest of his older cousin, Carr decided that it was time to do something positive with his life. He decided to enroll in Jackson State University and pursue a degree in biology/pre-pharmacy and make something out of himself. “I didn’t let that control me. I used that in order to stay humble and it made me a better person, it made me want to do better and to step outside the norms… I just wanted to be different, stand out and become more educated and make the right decisions. I knew I never wanted to be a statistic [in] no way, shape, or form,” declared Carr. Becoming a statistic is definitely not in the cards for Carr. Since arriving in Tiger Country, his shoe fashion prowess has garnered much attention from fellow Tigers can’t wait to cop his latest designs. Carr states that his faith in God keeps him motivated and

encourages him to never give up. “I cannot stress this enough, God has been most merciful within my life, making yes’s happen when I should’ve received no’s. It’s nothing but God,” said Carr about all of his achievements thus far. Carr has a passion for designing shoes and is willing to work with anybody that will give him a chance to be a creative artist. However, his hard work and creativity does come cheap. After all, you get what you pay for. The payment process depends upon the condition of the shoes. For customization, prices start at $50 and up for women’s shoes and $70 and up for men’s shoes. “It depends on how you want me to dye the shoe from one color to the next. If you want me to change the pattern or put a pattern in the shoe or any type of creative background with it. It just depends on how far you want me to take it,” said Carr. Carr is one of the many talented people found at JSU. You can find his great work by following him on Instagram: @trvcy.

2015 Fall Edition


REDEFINING Living&Learning ON CAMPUS 10 Room Décor Tips to promote success


By: Jhade’ Norris

rom decorative pillows, fancy bed sets, pictures and even custom furniture, residence hall room décor is very important to many college students who strive to make their room a home away from home. While some students only need the basic necessities in their living space, others go above and beyond in their efforts to make their rooms stylish and efficient. Between learning new curriculums and attempting to get involved on campus, students need a safe haven to rest and refresh their minds. Comfort is key when it comes to making your room feel like home. Surroundings can affect a person’s overall mood and generally become the

determining factor of having a good or bad day. “As an incoming freshman, my first concern was my room and how I would decorate it. I went for a simplistic look that matches my personality and overall makes me feel right at home,” said Kiera Wheaton, a freshman social work major from Heidelberg, Miss. So, what really makes your room hot or not? In order to have a “hot” room, décor is key. If you are a DIY kind of person, HGTV has 10 tips that can make your room into an oasis of comfort and efficiency. ( decorating/design-101/20-chic-and-functionaldorm-room-decorating-ideas-pictures)


Rearrange the furniture: Students should

begin by rearranging the furniture in the room after assessing the layout and testing different placements. After this is done, the decorative touches that can make your room unique and personalized can begin.

2) Think Multi-functional: For every piece of furniture you purchase, think of ways it can serve more than one purpose. suggests purchasing things like storage ottomans and futons.

3) Coordinate colors with your roommate: Consult with your

roommate prior to moving in on what color palate works for both of you. You don’t have to match exactly but make sure the color choices do not clash.

4) Make room under the bed for storage: Put storage bins under the bed to keep your space clutter free of things you use most often. A simple bed skirt can conceal these things from view.


Accessorize with flair: A unique rug or fashionable throws and pillows can make an often drab décor pop with color. Also, custom wall art like removable decals (most residence hall prohibit nailing or painting of walls) that reflect your likes and interests are also great added touch. Wall decals stick on your wall and come off fairly easy. These cute wall designs come in the form of quotes, symbols, animals and more. Stores like Target, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and even online websites carry wall decals. 6) Conceal Clutter: Use fabric like burlap to conceal things not stored in armoires or storage bins. “The most important thing I keep in mind when decorating my room is making sure I felt comfortable. When I walk in my room, I like to know where all my belongings are and for nothing to be misplaced,” said Dashawna Wright, a senior mass communication major from Chicago, Ill.

9) Go bold with color: If you really want to add life to your space, use bold colors like lime green, hot pink or yellow to make a statement.

Kimberly Wheaton, a senior education major from Jackson, Miss. said, “To me, decorating your room is all about pop colors and accents. I personally love making my room stand out with decorations whether that’s pictures, door decorations or cute desk ddécor, the more decorations the merrier!”

7) Bring Keepsakes from Home: Incorporated items like framed photographs and knick-knacks that remind you of home to help with the transition to your new home.

Use Desk Organizers: To ensure

that you have a stress free study space, use desk organizers to keep items in their place and clutter free.

Room designing does not have to be costly, especially if students shop at affordable places. Cleanliness goes a long way in ensuring that you have a great living space. Clutter and messiness only causes stress and makes it harder to relax.

8) Decorate your exterior room door: There is nothing welcoming

about a bland white or beige door. Use colorful patterned tapes or decals to add flair and style to your door as you welcome guests to your humble abode.


So if your room is not hot, follow the tips above to make the transition from existing in your room to fabulous living.

2015 Fall Edition



BOOM By: Gabrielle Brawner


owing hundreds and thousands of fans with their precision style marches, hit songs, outrageously fun dance routines, and beautiful ballads, the Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South will forever be known as one of the best and baddest bands in the land. Founded in 1940 under the direction of Kermit Holly, Sr., and now currently under the direction of JSU alum, Roderick Little, the university band has performed at various National Football League halftime shows, television show appearances, and a multitude of parades. With credentials like these, there’s no wonder why this band is one of the best bands to ever march down a street or onto a football field. Little, current director of the marching band, says the time both the staff and students put into the band program is what makes the Boom one of the greatest band programs around. “TIME is what it takes to make such a great program. We as staff are counselors, dads, musicians, administrators, negotiators, teachers, performers, psychologists, and the list goes on and on. With all of those responsibilities, it takes time to garner all of those to create success,” said Little. “Students and staff have to sacrifice their personal lives to make the band we all enjoy prepared to perform efficiently. That’s why we try to insert a sense of pride within our students for the program to prepare them for the gargantuan sacrifices to ensure its success.” “Leading the largest and most recognized organization on campus, the most rewarding experience of being the marching band director is undoubtedly being able to


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reach so many young people and provide an internal and external compass towards being good ethical people (in my view is the most important), successful students/ college graduates, and proficient musicians. Touching lives and giving back is something that we should do as humans that is mildly overlook in some instances. The ability to do so is monumental and humbling,” said Little. It is evident that the time invested in the Sonic Boom program is paying off. In December 2014, HBCU Buzz conducted a poll to see which school had the best band in the land. Out of over 20 schools, The Sonic Boom took the number one spot with approximately 17,701 people voting them the best band for 2015. This latest accolade is not surprising to Little. “The Boom has a rich tradition and has fostered/created so many positive aspects for its people and University. We ask that the public and alumni to keep supporting our students and program,” said Little, a former band member and drum major for the Boom. Little says that leading the largest and most recognized organization on campus has been a rewarding experience. “Being able to reach so many young people and provide an internal and external compass towards being good ethical people (in my view is the most important), successful students/college graduates, and proficient musicians. Touching lives and giving back is something that we should do as humans that is mildly overlook in some instances. The ability to do so is monumental and humbling,” said Little. Sometimes being a student and a member of such a popular and active band can be tough, but head drum major for the Jackson 5 (J5), Alfred Gistarb III, says all it takes is the right motivation and time management. Gistarb III, a senior graphic design major from Chicago, Ill., believes that after you balance it out, anything is possible. “It’s just like everything else in life. You have to balance. There is already a huge shift of priorities when it comes to being a regular college student and band member. The average college student’s day ends at 3:00 p.m., where they are free to chill, study, etc.,” said Gistarb. “Being in the band, automatically from 5:30 p.m. - until… we are at practice, so we have to know how too properly time manage to get all the things we need to get done. Being a drum major only intensifies

that to a greater scale. However again, with proper time management, it can be done.”

There is a saying that in order to be the best, you have to get the best. And it seems that the Boom always gets best. Elijah Thompson, a senior computer science major from Atlanta, Ga., says his main reason for coming to Jackson State was the opportunity to be a member of the Boom. “The band was cranking. I came from a real big high school band, so I didn’t want to go to a band that wasn’t good. I wanted to go to a band that was already well established and pretty exciting and well cranking,” said Thompson. Indeed the Sonic Boom of the South is a “cranking” band and also one of the most established bands in history. The Boom’s fan base and members say that the belief that there is no other band that can top them is what contributes to the bands success. “It’s just the attitude. It’s who we are. We’re the best, we’re cranking on everybody, we’re the loudest, and we’re the cleanest. It’s nobody that comes close; we make people feel a certain way that no one else can. When everybody hears the Boom, they know what’s up,” said Thompson. So, the next time you see and hear the band play its infamous and easily recognizable song, “Get Ready” by The Temptations, get ready to move out the way, because the best and the baddest band in the land is coming through!

2015 Fall Edition




• Jackson State’s third baseman Jesus Santana was named to the 2015 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. Santana, a Cagus, Puerto Rico native, was the Southwestern Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and a first team All-SWAC selection. • Tilur Smith was honored as 2015 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars, which recognizes those who have achieved high standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. These students were selected for the award from a pool of more than 600 student-athletes who were also nominated by their institution.

Men’s Basketball

• The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2015-16 AllConference teams and junior Treshawn Bolden was selected as a second team member at the center position. Last season Bolden started 30 of 32 games and averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He blocked a team high 17 shots (15th in the SWAC), recorded 11 steals and dished out 28 assists. • At the conclusion of the 2014-2015 regular season, the Tigers went into the SWAC Championship Tournament as the fifth seed and fell to fourth seed Prairie View A&M 62-56 in the first round. The Tigers ended their championship run 11-21 overall and 9-9 in conference.

Men’s Cross Country

• James Curtis led the Jackson State men’s cross country team, as he finished in fifth place – earning him All-SWAC first team honors. The Tigers came in fourth place with a time of 2:20:40.22. • Eclecius Franklin came in 13th place with a time of 27:55.30. Rahim Aponte finished 22nd (28:20.68) and Jacques Williams finished 24th to round out the top 25 finishes for JSU with a time of 28:27.16.

Men’s Golf

• The Men’s Golf team received public recognition from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for being in the top 10 percent, nationally in regards to Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores and achievement. • Timothy O’Neal featured in an article. The former Jackson State golfer Timothy O’Neal discussed his journey as a minority in a white dominated sport.

Men’s Tennis

• Herman Geria, Camilo Patino, and Ryan Swanier were honored as 2015 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars, which recognizes those who have achieved high standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. These students were selected for the award from a pool of more than 600 student-athletes who were also nominated by their institution. • The 2014 HBCU All American honors were announced today and Carlos Martinez and Jose Luque earned singles honors. Carlos Martinez finished 2014 ranked #8 in the national rankings. Jose Luque finished #10, Camilo Patino finished #11, and Herman Geria finished #70, Kashyap Ashok #71, Ryan Swanier #102. Carlos Martinez and Jose Luque finished the year ranked #11, Camilo Patino and Kashyap Ashok finished #27.


• Darreon Atkins, Cornelius Henderson, Evan Ingram, Markus Cook, Sean Johnson, and Javancy Jones were honored as 2015 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars, which recognizes those who have achieved high standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. These students were selected for the award from a pool of more than 600 student-athletes who were also nominated by their institution. • Jackson State University announced today that Harold Jackson has been relieved of his head coaching duties. Assistant Coach Derrick McCall has been named as the interim head coach. The 2015 season is the eighth for McCall as a member of the JSU football coaching staff. This season marks his fourth as wide receivers coach, however from 2012-14 he served as the offensive coordinator for the Tigers.

Men’s Indoor/Outdoor Track

• Jackson State track and field standout Tamarick Johnson captured two Southwestern Athletic Conference titles and was just missed out on a third by 00.05 seconds. Johnson’s performance was the best at the SWAC Championships by a Tiger since Anaso Jobodwana won the 200 meter dash indoor championship two years ago. Johnson won the 60 meter dash with a time of 6:83 and the 400 meter dash, running a time of 47.91. He also finished in second place in the 200 meter dash with a time of 21.37. Because of these performances, Johnson was named the SWAC 2015 Indoor Championships’ Most Outstanding Track Performer. • Ibrahim Hinds and Christopher Chapman were honored as 2015 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars, which recognizes those who have achieved high standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. These students were selected for the award from a pool of more than 600 student-athletes who were also nominated by their institution.


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• The Lady Tigers finished second in the conference with an 8-1-1 SWAC record and 11-6-2 record overall. They recorded a total of six shutout games against Texas A&M-Texarkana (1-0), Alcorn (5-0), Alabama A&M (40), Prairie View A&M (2-0), Grambling (4-0), ArkansasPine Bluff (1-0). • Five Lady Tigers were named to the 2015 All SWAC Teams with Rayana Speight and Faith Toennies being chosen for the First Team and Jalana Ellis, Kalen Roberts and Kyleigh Io were named to the Second Team.


• Jackson State women’s bowler Dyana Baker represented Singapore in the 2015 Macao China International Open. Bakar came in sixth overall averaging 225.5 in six qualifying games and 214.67 in the 12 game finals. Bakar attended Singapore Sports School during and joined the national youth team as she matriculated through high school. With the team for three years, Bakar was afforded the opportunity to participate in several international tournaments. • Jackson State University sophomore bowler Marcela Sánchez represented El Salvador, her home country, in the 2015 Pan American Games. The Pan Am Games are the world’s third largest international multi-sport Games; they are only surpassed in size and scope by the Olympic Summer Games and the Asian Games.

Women’s Indoor/Outdoor Track

• The Jackson State Tigers and Lady Tigers have completed competition at the 2015 Southwestern Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships which was hosted by Alabama A&M at Louis Crews Stadium. The Tigers finished 4th overall with a total of 87 points. • D’Andrea Eashmond, Shannon Parker, Cliffaniqua Towbridge and Sabrina Welch were honored as 2015 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars, which recognizes those who have achieved high standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. These students were selected for the award from a pool of more than 600 student-athletes.

Women’s Cross Country

• The Jackson State women’s cross country team finished in sixth place at the 2015 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Saturday at Choctaw Trails. The Lady Tigers were led by Sterline Silencieux who finished 16th with a time of 20:45.15. • Jackson State had two runners – Akeilia Knight (25:34.74; fourth overall) and Stherline Silencieux (26:16.79; seventh overall) – in the top 10 as the JSU women finished fourth overall. D’Andrea Eashomnd crossed the end line 15th overall with a mark of 27:54.92. Feniece Boone (29:46.95), Aniecia Brewster (30:03.06) and A’Kendra Lewis (31:07.65) rounded out the field for Jackson State.

Women’s Tennis

• Rebekah Adewumi and Sharonda Bryant were honored as 2015 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars, which recognizes those who have achieved high standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. These students were selected for the award from a pool of more than 600 student-athletes who were also nominated by their institution. • The Women’s Tennis team received public recognition from the Softball • The Jackson State women’s softball team wrapped up the 2015 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for being in the top 10 season 24-26 overall and 12-4 in the Southwestern Athletic percent, nationally in regards to Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores Conference. The Lady Tigers had several accomplishments and achievement. this season, among them was taking the Eastern Division Women’s Golf Championship title for the third consecutive year. JSU • JSU clinched a first place finish at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Softball maintained a 12-4 record during the SWAC regular Golden Lion Invitational outplaying conference foes Alcorn State and season and made it to the semi-final round of the SWAC Mississippi Valley. After two rounds, JSU recorded a team score of 695. championship tournament. Blanchard led the Lady Tigers again this tournament as she shot 158. • The Jackson State University Division of Athletics has • JSU’s final appearance during the 2015 season happened when the named Darnell Walker as its head softball coach. Walker, Lady Tigers traveled to Alexandria, La. to compete in the Southwestern who previously worked as an assistant coach in the Lady Athletic Conference Golf Championship. The Lady Tigers finished third Tigers softball program, returns to JSU after spending a with two golfers landing on the All-Conference Team. JSU finished with year as the head coach of the Coahoma Community College a team score of 688 and Blanchard and Makaila Brown were named to softball program. the Second All Conference Team.

Women’s Volleyball

• Jackson State won the 2015 SWAC Volleyball Tournament Championship with a 3-1 (25-14, 17-25, 25-23, 25-13) win over defending champion Alabama State. • Jenna Siddiqui received first team honors and was named the SWAC Setter of the Year. As a member of the 2015 SWAC Eastern Division Championship team, Siddiqui ranks second in the SWAC with 7.18 assists-per-set this season, sending out 804 total assist in 112 sets. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native also tallied 107 kills, 167 digs, 38 blocks (6 solo, 32 assists) and 29 server aces this season for the Lady Tigers. Against Jacksonville State on Sept. 16, Siddiqui dished out a conference-high of 56 assists in the five-set match.

Women’s Basketball

• The Jackson State women’s basketball team finished the 2014-15 season 14-17 overall and 10-8 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Lady Tigers went 3-8 in pre-conference play, defeating Chicago State, Murray State, and Northwestern State. They also had a very close game against Louisiana State University falling to LSU by eight points in overtime. • Senior forward Ayanna Hardy-Fuller led the Lady Tigers in scoring and rebounding averaging 10.8 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game. She ranked sixth in the SWAC in rebounding, fourth in field goal percentage (.502), and third in offensive rebounds (3.5 per game). Because of her effort, Hardy-Fuller was named All-Tournament Second Team and All-SWAC Second Team.

2015 Fall Edition


Special Election Feature



epublican candidates vying for the White House in the 2016 Presidential election are battling each other for their party’s support. There are currently 14 republican candidates running for President, including: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Donald J. Trump. All the candidates feel they have something to offer regarding their bid for presidency. “Although I do not agree with all values that most candidates from the Republican Party bring to the platform, I do believe that there are some candidates whose values and views on the state of the country match up to mine,” said Teria Dase, a junior communicative disorders major from Heidelberg Miss. Donald J. Trump, real estate mogul and reality TV star, has dominated the 2016 campaign with outlandish statements against his own party members. “Donald Trump is all talk to me, I think he does not want to truly see a change in the United States and is only campaigning for the position for power,” stated Dameshia Wheaton, junior businesses administration major from Memphis, Tenn. Trump is currently tied in the polls with Dr. Ben Carson at 26 percent according to NBC News polls. Carson has served as Professor of neurosurgery, oncology, and pediatrics, and was the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. At just 33 he became the youngest division director in Johns Hopkins history. Carly Fiorina, who served as the CEO of Hewlett Packard, the 11th most profitable company in America, is the only


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20 Republican female Republican running for the position. She has never held a political but is considered one of the most powerful female leaders in American history, according to Fiorina previously ran for United States Senator in California in 2010 but was defeated by Sen. Barbara Boxer. Fiorina’s current standing in the polls is at 4 percent in NBC News polls. Unlike Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, has years of political experience. Huckabee was the Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (1993-1996) and the former Governor of Arkansas (1996-2007) and also served as chair of the Southern Governor’s Association from 1999 to 2000. He was also a 2008 Presidential candidate. Huckabee’s current standing in the polls is at 3 percent in NBC News polls. Marco Rubio, a U.S. Senator from Florida, is one of the eight most influential senators on immigration reform. Rubio is the only candidate who can claim any sort of momentum. He’s gone from 5th place to 3rd place at 11 percent according to NBC News polls. Rick Santorum, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania (19952007) and former U.S. Representative (1991-1995), was a candidate for President in 2012 but dropped out the race in April of 2012. Santorum, along with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York governor George Pataki have no rankings in the NBC News polls. Chris Christie is one of the most underrated candidates according to He served as the US attorney for the District of New Jersey before running and winning the election to the office of Governor of that state. He has a reputation as a straight talking, no nonsense Continue on Page 42


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he 2016 Democratic race for presidency is heating up with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton leading the charge. With only four candidates remaining, after former United States Senator, Jim Webb, and former Gov. of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, both withdrawing their nominations, candidates Sanders, Clinton, attorney and political activist, Lester Lawrence Lessig, and former Gov. of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, are all vying for key votes before the 2016 Democratic primaries. However, getting to the primaries may prove to be an easier task for some than others. While Sanders and Clinton equally had a strong showing at the first Democratic debate, hosted on CNN on Oct. 13, both Lessig and O’Malley have had to fight for relevancy. According to The New York Times, despite raising more than $1 million for his campaign, Lessig, 54, was excluded from the first debate entirely, after suffering weak poll numbers. The current Harvard Law School professor also failed to secure a crucial invitation to Iowa’s annual Democratic JeffersonJackson fundraiser dinner on Oct. 25, as well, as his bid for president has run in near obscurity. Linda Carl, a junior political science major from Clinton, Miss., believes Lessig’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination are scarce. “When you get into a race like this, you have to be willing to put yourself out there,” said Carl. “I honestly forgot he was even running. You can’t expect to be president by purposely falling behind.” Still, Lessig’s singular focus on overhauling the presidential campaign system has managed to grab Dexter Dent’s, a senior graphic design major, from Magnolia, Miss., attention on the issue. “It’s important to know where our money is going if we’re going to be supporting these people,” said Dent. “He just has

to be louder, make his voice more heard, because he has a great message.” O’Malley, 52, has also struggled to keep up with the stringent pace of the Democratic race for presidency. currently places O’Malley third behind Sanders and Clinton, with just a 0.8 average. This does not mean that O’Malley is giving up without a fight, however. Touting support from voters on the issues of gun control, members of the LGBTQ community for his progressive stance on gay rights, and even earning favoritism from both Democratic and GOP voters, after calling out Clinton on her rotating views on the death penalty, O’Malley’s brazen words have gained him support from the likes of Jordan McKee, a senior business administration major from Olive Branch, Miss., who feels O’Malley’s bold approach is refreshing to see from a Democratic candidate. “I like Mr. O’Malley,” said McKee. “I like how he’s not afraid to go there with people, whether it’s the GOP or a member of his own party. I’ve become a fan.” Still, Regine Edwards-Bowler, a freshman English major, from Pensacola, Fla., feels O’Malley’s campaign, similar to Lessig’s, has not done enough to garner her attention. “I don’t know him,” said Edwards-Bowler. “You know Clinton and Sanders, but I don’t know anything about him. I can’t vote for somebody I didn’t even know was running.” Senator Sanders on the other hand hopes to ride his political high straight into the White House. The 74-year old Brooklyn, N.Y. native has been a force to reckon with in American politics for more than half a century, and hopes to take his no-nonsense approach to politics to the highest political office in the country. Representing Vermont, Senator Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, known as a leading progressive voice on Continue on Page 42

2015 Fall Edition


conservative who favors diplomacy. He publicly praises Barack Obama and his views. According to The Washington Post, former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, has managed to raise more than $108 million for his campaign, $70 million more than his nearest fundraising competitor, junior United State Senator, Ted Cruz. However, Bush, who is currently on a tour of the swing-state of Iowa, has a lot of catching up to do. Many voters, such as Cameron Hill, a junior political science major from Brandon, Miss., stated that while he is a fans of the other two former Bush Presidents, she does not feel that Jeb Bush can live up to voters’ stringent expectations. “I didn’t feel he had a strong showing at the debate,” said Hill said. “Right now I’m looking at other candidates.” Karen Steel, a business administration major from Baton Rouge, La., believes Jindal has all the right tools to lead the nation. “He’s a two-time governor,” Steel said. “A great president should have leadership skills, he already has that.” Trump has stumbled among conservative voters in Iowa, as attack advertisements from The Club for Growth, have accused Trump of promoting tax increases, advocating for single-payer healthcare, and pinpointed his support for bailouts of America’s big banks, all of which have edged Carson to the front of the Republican pack in Iowa. Cruz, who is preparing for a three-day trip throughout 12 cities in Iowa, recently told a crowd of volunteers and supporters that “we’re all in,” at the opening of his Des Moines headquarters, according to NBC News. While other candidates, such as Trump, have held boisterous rallies for support, Cruz, who is tied at six percent for support among Republican voters in Iowa, along with both Jindal and Rubio, promises that more focus will be given to the “American Heartland”. Facing a decline in poll numbers and uncertainty if he will drop of out the Republican nomination for President, Senator Rand Paul is also preparing for a tour of Iowa, but has made it his priority to focus on young voters, during an extensive 11-stop, three-day college tour of Iowa, a demographic which could hold key to a successful campaign. Despite his plan to woo young voters, however, Paul’s campaign is struggling, only raising $6.2 million in fundraising; his campaign only brought in $2.5 million of that in the third quarter. By comparison, Kasich, who only announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination on July 21, has currently raised $11.5 million for his campaign according to NBC News; Cruz announced his candidacy for President on April 7. Voting in Iowa will take place Feb. 1, giving Bush, Jindal, Carson, Cruz, and Paul time to perfect their strategies moving forward, but also the rest of the Republican nominee hopefuls, who all look to improve their standings. The United States presidential election of 2016 is scheduled for Nov. 8, 2016.

pressing issues such as income inequality, universal healthcare, climate change, and LGBTQ rights, has found success in the polls. According to, Senator Sanders currently places second behind Clinton, with a 27.0 average. While recently spending a reported $2 million on his first television ad in the key swing-state of Iowa, Senator Sanders media efforts have grabbed the attention of Jackson State students, such as Travis Johnson, a senior electrical engineering major from Holly Springs, Miss. “He has a lot of potential to be a good president,” said Johnson. “However, he has to have a lot of people supporting him.” Other students, such as freshman computer science major, Jonathan Chatman, from Gautier, Miss., have their doubts about Senator Sanders, especially when it comes to finance reform. “I don’t know much about [Sanders],” said Chatman. “But from what I can tell, he isn’t that good at economics.” Senator Sanders not only has to worry about both Lessig and O’Malley making a resurgence in the Democratic polls, but he also has to contest his biggest competitor, former Secretary of State, senator, and former first lady, Clinton. Clinton, 68, who announced her bid for president on April 12, in a campaign video called, “Getting Started,” remains at the top of the Democratic pack, with placing her first amongst peers Senator Sanders, O’Malley, and the uncharted Lessig, with a 48.8 average. A recent CNN poll also placed Clinton up 45-29 over Senator Sanders, a three-point increase from the previous CNN survey based on the same criteria. Along with winning the recent Democratic debate, Clinton’s other major accomplishments, including the establishment of the Clinton Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of citizens globally, through wellness, education, and providing economic assistance, has endeared her to the likes of Chantay Evans, a psychology major from Chicago, Ill. “I support Hillary Clinton. I think she is for equality,” said Evans. “She has accomplished a lot and now that we have a black president, it’s time we have a woman as president.” Martha Jones, a Jackson native and a communicative disorders major, echoes Evans’ sentiments, feeling Clinton is a role-model for the women throughout the country. “I believe it is a very tremendous thing that Hillary Clinton is running for president,” said Jones. “She is giving a confidence boost to women and young girls around America that all dreams and goals are possible.’’ Despite current Vice President, Joe Biden, choosing not to run for president in 2016, however, Atisha Myles, an art major from Vicksburg, Miss., believes that the Democratic fight for the presidential nomination is only just now beginning. “We’ve got another debate,” said Myles. “If anything, I think things will only get more interesting from here.”

The following story was completed by students in the Mass Communication Introduction to News Reporting class. Contributors included: Kristen Blanks, Aniecia Brewster, Eldria Coleman, Simon Cotton, Breyionna Flowers, Jarvis Generette, Feunshay Jenkins, Robert Johnson, Jhade’ Norris, Breanna Stewart and Razedrick Winters.

The following story was completed by students in the School of Journalism and Media Studies Introduction to News Reporting class. Contributors included: Kennede Banks, Kristen Blanks, Aniecia Brewster, Eldria Coleman, Jordan Darensbourg, Sydney Forbes, Jarvis Generette, Sharyla Gordon, Robert Johnson, Breanna Stewart and Razedrick Winters.


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