Florida A&M University’s Most Eligible RATTLERS By:Terrika Mitchell Designed by:LaShonda Snelling Photography by:Taylar Barrington and Keenan Doanes
Location: Aloft Tallahassee Downtown
or more than 10 years, Journey magazine has featured some of Florida A&M University’s most intriguing men and women as Super Singles in our annual Love & Relationship issue. These individuals excel academically, hold memberships in campus
and community organizations, and above all, they’re pretty easy on the eyes. We send our singles on an exciting speed-dating event and play fly on the wall as the chemistry unfolds. Whether they’re scouting for a future spouse or just looking for someone to step out with, these young ladies and gentlemen don’t plan on being super “singles” much longer.
LaTya Divers Sophomore business marketing student LaTya Divers, 19, has noticed a trend in guys she dated in high school. “I’ve always dated the football, basketball or soccer guys,” says LaTya, a Dallas native. She says she is open to variety now. “In college, it’s not a sports type of thing. It’s more of, ‘if I’m compatible with you, then I’m compatible with you.’” While she is not avoiding a relationship, she opts to let one come to her instead of searching. “When you go looking for something you always find trouble,” she says. “I’m just open-minded right now and focused on school. If a relationship happens it happens. I’m not out looking for a boyfriend.” In addition to concentrating on her grades, LaTya also involves herself in
activities at Florida A&M University and the Tallahassee community. She currently serves as chief historian of FAMU’s Freshman Cabinet, volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and at local homeless shelters. LaTya says she is very mature and focused on her future. She also describes herself as random and fun-loving, and wants a man who is just as balanced. “I’m a spontaneous person,” Latya says. “I need someone that can make me laugh and go with the flow as well. I also want someone who is motivated and not just in college to be in college.” She is also a firm believer in trust as the foundation of a relationship. “Once the trust is gone, a relationship is sure to crumble,” LaTya says. “If you can’t believe in the person, then there’s nothing there.”
age: 19 major: Business Marketing hometown: Dallas, Texas
Rontel Batie Before coming to Florida A&M University from St. Augustine, 21-yearold Rontel Batie had already imagined his relationship experience at the university. “My dream was always that I’d find my wife at FAMU,” says Rontel, a thirdyear political science student. “We’d come back for homecoming and have stories to tell about how we met and our experiences around campus.”
age: 21 major: Political Science hometown: St. Augustine, Fla.
With activities such as interning with Gov. Charlie Crist at the Office of Citizen Services, serving as president of the FAMU chapter of College Democrats of America and helping coach Pop Warner football on top of night classes, Rontel’s time appears already occupied. However, he says making time for a mate would not be an issue. “It hasn’t interfered because I’m very good with time management,” Rontel says. “Regardless of what I have
Jasmine O. Yates on my plate I know how to make time for other people.”
Freshman healthcare management student Jasmine O. Yates says she has never had a “full-blown” relationship but is on the lookout for that special person.
For Rontel, spirituality is a determining factor in considering mates. He says he has as much to offer as the “well rounded” woman he is seeking.
“I would just say I haven’t found the right person or someone who catches my attention,” says the Atlanta native. “I’ve always dealt with people that play games but I’m looking for someone who knows what they want and (is) willing to work on a relationship.”
“I am a provider,” he says, “I’m supportive. I’m a protector and I can stimulate her mentally, physically and emotionally. I bring everything to the table that, typically, a man would not.”
Jasmine, 18, says her confident personality often causes guys to get the impression that she is high-class, stern and doesn’t need anyone.
His future plans include law school, the army and politics. He prefers a mate whose reputation and presentation coincide. He says past relationships have taught him to remember that everyone has flaws. “I’ve learned to never put people on a pedestal,” he says, “and to remember that we are all human. A lot of men expect their women to be perfect but in essence, we all make mistakes.”
age: 18 major: Healthcare Management hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
According to Loren, parental approval of a potential beau “would be nice” but is not obligatory.
age: 21 major: Biology Pre-Medical hometown: Dothan, Ala.
“It would be more difficult to be in a relationship without my parents’ approval,” says the Dothan, Ala. native, “but if they didn’t approve and I really love the person, I would be with them regardless.” The 21-year-old says she is very motivated in her academics, and men can find that evident in her extracurricular activities also. As vice president of FAMU’s Health
Jasmine serves in Florida A&M University’s Freshman Cabinet as the press and publicity chairperson, and is a member of FAMU’s 100 Collegiate Black
“A guy definitely has to be spiritually grounded,” she says, “honest with integrity, humble, determined and active on campus as well.” While Jasmine says she is not looking to get married any time soon, she says she would like a steady relationship. “Being that I’m a freshman, I’m not looking for anything too long-term or marriage type,” she says, “but I am looking for something that’s stable dating wise.” She says acceptance from both friends and family of a potential mate play a role in her decision-making, but she is aware that, in the end, the choice is hers. “Their opinion doesn’t, in detail, determine my relationship status,” she says. “It’s ultimately my decision.”
Loren Ellis “I’m trying to get away from the looks so much and look at personality and what a guy has going for himself,” says Loren Ellis, a third-year biology pre-medical student at Florida A&M University. “I’m a Christian and I want a guy who is a God-fearing Christian.”
“I am independent, but I know where to cut it off and not be overbearing,” she says.
Women. She says a guy does not have to be perfect, but should definitely be well rounded.
Christopher Glenn, a 21-year-old Atlanta native, says he knows why he is not in a relationship.
and Educational Relief for Guyana, a member of the Student National Medical Association and the National Honor Society, Loren is often time consumed.
“I’m single because I’m a wild guy,” says the fourth-year psychology and education student. “I’m hard to tame. My personality is just over the top and I have a lot of female friends. A lot of girls don’t like that.”
“I actually put my extracurricular activities before myself,” says Loren. “Sometimes I don’t get time to breathe. It really is hard to balance but I have to make sure I have time to get done whatever needs to get done.” She intends to go into family medicine and owning her own practice in the South. Along with a thriving career, Loren says happiness is vital. “The fact that I want to be successful motivates me,” Loren says. “It’s not defined by how much money I’ll make but by how happy I am and how happy I make others. I don’t want my success to just be about myself.”
age: 21 major: Psychology, Education hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
As a member of Florida A&M University’s Atlanta Club and Epicurean Fashion Experience, Chris observes a woman’s friends as indicators of her character. He says the company someone keeps is important when finding a mate because they are a likeness of that person. “The people in your circle reflect your personality,” he says. “In my circle we are hilarious. We like to sit back and have fun. We’re adventurous.” Chris’s approach to a woman is psychological. He likes to pay attention to minor details about her.
“My first time meeting a woman, I’m looking for somebody who is friendly,” Chris says. “Not someone who is stern, but comfortable. It says they’re willing to open up.” Chris says women will find that he is caring and compassionate. However, he admits that some women often take his joking personally. “I’m very sarcastic,” he says. “I pick up on things and may make a slick comment about it. The misconception may be that I’m being a jerk. I make the strongest effort to clear the air when no harm was intentionally done.” Chris does not have a definite answer for everything he is looking for in a woman, but he has an idea of where it begins. “I’m not 100 percent sure what I’m looking for,” he says, “but if I have that comfortable feeling then, I know I’m off to the right start.”
Travis Troutman As a member of organizations like Images Modeling Troupe, 100 Collegiate Black Men of Tallahassee and the Miami Club at Florida A&M University, Travis Troutman is looking for a companion who is equally involved in campus activities. “If we share common goals then that will give us more to have in common to build a relationship on, rather than us having two different focuses,” says the FAMU Relay for Life and Black Archives volunteer.
major: Psychology, Criminal Justice
hometown: Miami, Fla.
Despite considerable campus involvement, Travis, 23, is committed to putting in what it takes to make a relationship work. “Most people say relationships are 50-50,” says the third-year psychology and criminal justice student. “I believe sides should (put forth) 100 percent
Although often complimented on her smile, Chantal Usher wants men to appreciate her personality as well.
because when you put only half your effort into anything, you’re bound to fail.” Travis is interested in a woman who stands out as open-minded and intelligent. He says his respect for women, which he learned from his mother, makes him stand out among other men.
“I want guys to know that I’m the type of girl they should look forward to having something more than a sexual relationship with,” says the first-year nursing student from Jacksonville.
“Being that I was raised by a single mother,” says Travis, “I’ve grown to have a large respect for women. So I treat the girls that I date like I would want someone to treat my mom or my sister, with the utmost respect.” Travis says he wants to always leave the impression that he is sincere and understanding. “We all make mistakes,” he says, “and if someone has a past and I’m serious about her, then I’m willing to look past that and into a future.”
Chantal looks further than physical attraction, but she shies away from falling in too deep.
age: 18 major: Nursing hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.
“I’m definitely looking for a relationship,” says Jylisa, a psychology student at Florida A&M University. “A relationship that I can see progressing to marriage and not just on the dating scene. I’m a little more mature than that now.”
age: 21 major: Psychology hometown: Orlando, Fla.
Jylisa, who believes in making time for things she wants to do, is active as a campus tour guide and orientation leader for FAMU’s New Student Orientation. She has also been the hostess of showcases such as the 2009 homecoming comedy show. While she prefers a handsome man who is taller than she, Jylisa is attracted to ambitious, spontaneous and romantic men. She also has an eye for “church boys.”
In spite of Chantal’s reservations, she is willing to date when she is not involved with Florida A&M University’s NAACP community service and health committees, and Tallahassee’s Grandparent Out-Reach Program.
Chantal says studying and shopping keep her busy during free time now. She says along with a man’s respect for women, physical upkeep tells her a lot about a man. “The first thing I notice in a guy is the shoes,” Chantal says. “You can tell a lot about a man by how he takes care of his shoes—like how they take care of themselves.” Chantal also looks beyond appearance to evaluate the caliber of a mate. “On a deeper level, I like to know how he feels about his mother,” she says. “A man who will disrespect his mother will disrespect any girl.”
Jylisa Hill Graduating senior Jylisa Hill, 21, is ready to transition not only into a career, but into a stable and promising relationship as well.
“Actually, I don’t believe in being in love,” Chantal says. “Maybe it’s because I’ve never experienced it, but from observation, it’s getting to the point that you have more respect for the person you’re in love with than you do for yourself.”
“I’ve been on a couple dates since I’ve been here,” Chantal says. “Extra –extravagant dates would be nice but since we’re in college everyone can’t afford that, so dinner and a movie are fine with me.”
“I do go to church,” says the Orlando native. “His relationship with God is very important to me because it would be nice to share that bond of going to church, and if we can connect spiritually that’s awesome.” Jylisa, who has plans for a family, says her parents’ acceptance of the man in her life is necessary to move forward. “I could never be in the situation in which my mom and dad don’t like the guy I’m in a relationship with,” she says. “I’m a big family-oriented person.” Although Jylisa describes herself as faithful, she says she has discovered that that virtue comes with time. “One thing I’ve learned is not to completely rush into a relationship,” she says, “but to really learn the ins and outs of someone before you give them that (girlfriend/boyfriend) title or label.”
As a current escort for Florida A&M University’s royal court and former Mr. Housing 2008-2009, Fred Johnson, 20, has no problem showing off. Such is the case with a potential companion.
currently interns at Florida State University five days a week doing viral marketing. He says his schedule is pretty tight, but that he’s willing to make room for a relationship.
“I’m not going to be the typical guy,” says the second-year business administration student. “A lot of girls will come and be like, ‘How are you going to be different,’ and I’m not the kind of person to say I’m different; I’m going to show you that I’m different.”
“I’m open to a relationship if the right one comes along,” he says. “I don’t want to rush anything though.”
While Fred majors in business administration, he says he also has a passion for video production. He
age: 20 major: Business Administration hometown: Dallas, Texas
The Dallas native says he is the “sappy” romantic from the movies who likes to give flowers and candy. “I’m a romantic kind of guy,” Fred says. “I like to go out and pay for everything and just do the things that women would want a gentleman to do.”
“The Super Singles event just shows that there are well-rounded women at FAMU.”
/// Fred Johnson