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is able to help students deal with the various uncertainties they may feel at this stage of their lives by encouraging them to pose questions through their writing and during class. Allowing students to share their life experiences and come to her with questions is something Bryant believes is a major component in their development into adulthood. “Empowerment comes first with selfknowledge,” Bryant said. “I think before we start talking about race matters and gender, we have to ask first: ‘who are you?’ It’s important that I talk about women’s rights, Black rights, LGBTQ rights, and allow them to share what they know or don’t know and fill in the blanks.” Elicia Brewster, a student in Bryant’s ENC 1102 course, said through Bryant’s constant encouragement, she feels emboldened to continue using writing as a form of release. “When she found out that I’m a journalism student, she really took me under her wing and helped me to focus on becoming a stronger writer,” Brewster said. “She’s always telling me, ‘put your feelings into it,’ so that’s something I’m working on trying to do.” “She’s one of those professors who will

give that constructive criticism, but you can take what she’s saying and use it to make your work better because you know that it’s coming from a loving place,” she continued. Brewster said it’s not only Bryant’s electrifying teaching style but also her alternative personal style, that inspires her students to always showcase their authentic selves in every aspect of their lives, including their writing. “When I first saw her and saw how she expresses herself through her style— she dresses differently from any other teacher—it really just encourages me to express myself as well, especially in my writing,” Brewster said. In addition to cultivating students’ writing abilities, Brewster said she enjoys that Bryant infuses current events, history, and popular culture topics into her classroom discussions. “I believe that’s why she relates to students so well,” Brewster said. “She talks to us like she remembers when she was a student and when she was in this same position. She discusses social issues and the issues that we have going on in our personal lives. Things like that really make for a comfortable learning environment.”

Bryant said this is all a part of the holistic educational experience she strives to provide her students. Not only does she believe this makes her students better writers, but also better citizens. “I think as teachers, we have to bring a lot of the news to the classroom. We have to remain objective, and we have to almost have a Socratic way of questioning. We don’t tell them what it is, but we just question and encourage them to question, question, question. That will help with their empowerment as writers and individuals,” Bryant explained. Questioning the way things are and challenging the things that they believe aren’t working in today’s society is something Bryant said takes true courage. Though she understands it can be hard, she said she constantly reminds students to keep speaking up. “I tell students, they always say ‘keep it 100,’ and I tell them that takes courage,” Bryant said. “I tell them it takes courage to be vulnerable, to be true to yourself, to speak up in class, to speak up for what’s right and what’s wrong, to ask your teacher questions. But my hope is that our students here at FAMU continue to be courageous.”

A&M MAGAZINE // SPRING 2016 // 45

Profile for FAMU Communications

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...