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JCSU displayed a strong presence at Mid-South Sociological Association conference

Ariana Rhodes ‘23
Photo Courtesy: Ariana Rhodes
Ariana Rhodes ‘23
October 28, 2020 / Charlotte, N.C. – A number of students and faculty who participated in the annual Mid-South Sociological Association conference (MSSA) October 14-17, 2020, are proving how Johnson C. Smith University Holds High the Gold and Blue. 

The conference, held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to promote the advancement of sociological research, the diffusion of knowledge, innovative service and teaching.

Ariana Rhodes ‘23 won first place in the undergraduate poster competition for her presentation, “How the Intelligence Community’s Collection Methods Affect U.S. Citizen’s Rights.”

“I wanted to be able to understand and explain how the intelligence community affected me, an everyday citizen,” Rhodes said. 

In addition, Rhodes and Ayliah Warden ‘22, along with Dr. Anita Bledsoe-Gardner, presented on the panel, “HBCU Experiences: Cyber Intelligence, where they shared their experience in being involved with cyber intelligence at an HBCU.” 

DeJaria Benjamin ‘22
Photo Courtesy: DeJaria Benjamin
DeJaria Benjamin ‘22
“It was important for me to participate, because I wanted other students to know that they had a voice and a platform that they can use to speak up, especially now while we’re learning remotely,” said DeJaria Benjamin ‘22.

Benjamin and Destinee Willis, along with adjunct faculty member, Laytifia Williams, presented in the panel organized by Dr. Nicola Bivens, “From Campus to Canvas: Faculty and Staff Experiences at Small Colleges in the Wake of COVID-19 Campus Closures.”  

“I have struggled to keep myself motivated and get my assignments done during this time. That experience helped me decide my topic for the panel discussion,“ Benjamin explained.

Both students feel it’s important for students to participate in conferences like this, that provide opportunities to fellowship with peers from other institutions and present research projects. “With the help of Dr. Bledsoe-Gardner, I have been afforded opportunities outside of the classroom, including the MSSA conference. I am grateful for the education and exposure I’ve gained,” Rhodes said.

Ryan Dillon ’22 and Kneadee Jackson ‘20, co-presented with Dr. Ruth Greene and Dr. Jonathan Smalls, on the panel, “McNair Scholars at a Small Private HBCU: Faculty and Student Perceptions and Experiences.”  The presentation highlighted JCSU's rich history and legacy of McNair Scholars, as well as the quality student engagement and accomplishments under Dr. Small's leadership. 

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