JSU Women’s History Month

Antoinette R. Silas

March 18th, 2019 by alumni

Antoinette R. Silas, a native of Jackson, Mississippi by way of Laurel, Mississippi, continued the legacy in her parent’s footsteps, Angela Anderson (’95) and Terrance Evans (’94). She also attended Jackson State University and received her B.S. (’09) and M.S. (’11) degrees in Computer Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. She is proud to be the bridge in continuing the family tradition as her sister, Anaiah Evans is currently a freshman at Jackson State University.

Antoinette is currently employed as a computer engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center, Information Technology Laboratory (USACE-ERDC-ITL) in Vicksburg, MS for 8 years where she works in the Supercomputing Research Center. Her research areas have included high-performance computing and human-computer interaction.

Antoinette never turns down an opportunity to support Jackson State University. She recently presented a talk about engineering at the West Point Leadership Ethics and Diversity in STEM (LEADS) Workshop hosted at JSU. There were over 250 attendees which included military personnel, West Point Cadets, collegiate mentors, Jackson Public School teachers, and JROTC students.

  Antoinette engaged the teachers with information about opportunities at USACE-ERDC and the field of engineering. Antoinette discussed engineering disciplines, research areas, ERDC summer programs, and her personal journey from high school to becoming an engineer. She concluded with inspiring the teachers and counselors in attendance to encourage their students to pursue a degree in engineering and attending Jackson State University.

While at Jackson State, she served in the Student Government Association, National Pan Hellenic Council, and other clubs and organizations. Antoinette became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated – Lambda Beta Chapter in the Spring of 2006. She continues in her commitment to leadership and service.  She is also a current member of the Tau Upsilon Zeta Chapter located in Clinton, MS. 

Antoinette loves being a voice for women empowerment; this is expressed in her company, Just AS Beautiful, LLC and her philanthropic work with Miss Plus America. Just AS Beautiful is a luxury makeup studio based in Clinton, MS, Antoinette also serves as the 2019 Mississippi State Director for the national Miss Plus America Pageant System.

In her free time, she enjoys spending it with her husband, Johnathan Silas (JSU ’09) and their five-year-old son, Johnathan, Jr. 

Carolyn J. Fairley-Holmes

March 18th, 2019 by alumni

Ten years before graduating Carolyn embarked upon a milestone to finish the task that she set out, and as of today she is proud to say, "It is well!". Embarking upon the journey was an ultimate goal that was set in motion, during her first acceptance into Jackson State University, Fall of 1981. Carolyn received a BA in Criminal Justice, Fall of 1998 and her MA in Urban and Regional Planning in 2018.

In the Fall of '82, Carolyn married her college sweetheart. Two years later they welcomed two wonderful children, both of whom made "Thee I Love" their college choice. After seeing them successfully gravitate in their fields, she knew she had to take the leap of faith and finish her college degree.

Carolyn gained employment in her field of study as a Transportation /Fleet Manager at Jackson State University. Her contribution to the university was constant in the proposal and acceptance in the purchase of the very first (2) motor coaches for the university and the implementation of the shuttle program which supported the master landscape plan for the campus. She challenged her mental aptitude to accept that furthering her study in pursuing a Master's was her defined destiny.

She applauds herself for having the perseverance to continue the plight. The onset of her decision was met with many challenges, as she is the only child,  she became the caregiver to her aging parents, as well as support for her spouse, as he too was challenged with a rheumatic medical diagnosis. Altogether, the season of acquiring her  Master's ushered in three major surgeries for her dad, diagnosis of osteoarthritis and early dementia for her mother, and a hurdle of prolonged hospital stays for her husband.

According to Fairley – Holmes, "I knew that this was my season of accomplishment because the trials were so great. I found being in class awarded me being more intellectually aware and substantiated my willpower to it's highest potential. I completed this task scholastically well, and an incompletion, I have decided that I am interested in furthering my studies more, in pursuit of the Ph.D. in Public Policy & Administration."

Sheila Taylor-Clark

March 18th, 2019 by alumni

Sheila Taylor-Clark is a two-time breast cancer survivor and author. She is a 2004 graduate of Jackson State University with a BA in Business. She also took graduate courses at the University of Memphis and is a graduate from Georgetown University Leadership Institute. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for The Bridge Breast Network, a nonprofit that provides life-saving medical care at no cost for uninsured women diagnosed with breast cancer.  The Bridge Breast Network help women who need medical care navigate the process from diagnosis to survivorship through its network of volunteer medical providers. Grants and donations help The BBN cover supplies, materials and prescription medicines as an uninsured diagnosed patient undergoes surgery, radiation, chemo and other therapies.  

Sheila also volunteers extensively with Komen Dallas and Komen North Texas affiliates – she has served in a variety of roles for Komen Dallas, including Race Revenue Committee Chair, Race Speakers Committee Co-Chair, Race Survivor Co-Chair and currently Advocacy Co-Chair.  As advocacy co-chair, Sheila has traveled to D.C. to lobby before Congress for oral drug parity and more funding for the National Institute of Health.  She also recently served on a Department of Defense Research Panel and has attended the Speak Truth to Power Summit by Komen Headquarters as an invited guest to work toward solutions to breast health disparities in the African-American community.  In 2015, Sheila founded Sock It To Cancer, a nonprofit that provides comfort items to women in treatment for breast cancer and college scholarships to youth who have lost their mother to breast cancer to honor the memory of her mother-in-law, who passed away of breast cancer at age 46.

Sheila is a licensed CPA working as a senior consultant for a global tax technology company where she was recognized with numerous awards for exceptional client service. She also provides tax advice and preparation services in her own practice.  She is a past National Association of Black Accountants’ Chapter President, Regional President (two-terms) and National Director; and a past CFO and National Treasurer of the National Association of Black Accountants.  Sheila will serve as the Co-Chair for this year’s NABA National Convention in Las Vegas, NV. 

Additionally, Sheila is serving a second appointment as a commissioner with the Lewisville Housing Finance Corporation, having been appointed by the Lewisville City Council.  The Lewisville Independent School District also appointed Sheila to the Student Health Advisory Council.  Sheila graduated from Lewisville Citizen's University in 2017, a program that encourages residents to become involved in local politics and service. Sheila is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where she is a Foundation past-president and a current committee-co-chair, and President-Elect of the Valley Ridge Elementary PTA, where her daughter McKenzie attends third grade. Sheila is an active member of the Jackson State University National Alumni Association Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter and has served on the Audit Committee. Sheila recently had the honor of hosting it's signature Black Winemakers’ Dinner in 2016 and 2018.

Sheila is a contributing author to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, having been published to four of the anthology’s books. Sheila has been honored by the Dallas Business Journal with its 25 Women to Watch Award and by NABA as its Rising Star, Chapter President of the Year (twice) and with the National Community Service Award.  Sheila has also been nationally recognized by Komen as a Star Survivor and locally by Komen Dallas as an Honorary Survivor. 

Sheila resides in Lewisville and is married to Nathaniel Clark, a Dallas County probation officer.  They have three children – Jamir, Jamal, and McKenzie.

Brianne Young

March 18th, 2019 by alumni

A native of Jackson, MS, Brianne is the daughter of Le’Roy Laws and Jacqueline Young who are both Jackson State graduates. She chose to attend Jackson State University to continue her family tradition. 

Brianne is a product of Jackson Public School District. She graduated in 1998 from Provine High. Brianne received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Jackson State University in 2002, returned in 2005 and completed her Master's in Guidance and Counseling. She began her professional career with the Bureau of Prisons, Federal Prison System.  She has worked for the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs and  Veterans Health Administration. 

Brianne is currently a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration in New Orleans, LA where she assists disabled Veterans with training and employment.

Dr. Alfonzo Haralson, Adjunct Professor, now Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation, and Psychometric Services mentored Brianne during her undergraduate studies. He encouraged her to further her education, obtain her Master’s degree, and licensure.  Brianne attended numerous student activities on campus.  She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Order of the Eastern Star where she is involved in numerous community service projects.

Captain Veronica Peppers

March 18th, 2019 by alumni

A resident of Madison County, Mississippi, Veronica is a 1990 graduate of Velma Jackson High School. Veronica graduated May 1996 with a BS in Mass Communication from Jackson State University. She also received the prestigious honor of Captain of Mississippi Army National Guard in March 2016. Although she had the task of juggling the roles of a full-time wife, mother of two daughters, a student, and an employee her life has been quite a challenge and a rewarding experience! As she continued the journey to pursue her degree and stay actively engaged in her community, she is reminded of an encouraging scripture, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29: 11). 

Veronica recently enrolled in the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Leadership Cognate at Liberty University. After 22 years since completing her studies at Jackson State University, she maintained a 4.0 GPA during her first semester in the program, only by God’s grace and mercy. Veronica received a new assignment in the Mississippi Army National Guard as a Training Officer of the 298th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where she provides operation and training management guidance to the battalion for more than 630 service members. Her additional duties included Equal Opportunity Advisor, Antiterrorism Officer, and Family Readiness Group Coordinator. 

She is a graduate of Leadership Madison County (1990) and a current life member of both National Guard Association of the United States and National Guard Association of Mississippi, where she currently serves on the board of directors as the Company Grade Officer Representative.

Dr. Natasha Magee-Woods

March 11th, 2019 by alumni

At the age of sixteen, Natasha enrolled at Jackson State University on a full academic leadership scholarship majoring in Biology. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the age of nineteen. In May of 2003, she was awarded the Master of Science degree in Biology.  In August 2009, she was awarded the Doctorate of Philosophy in Environmental Science where she completed scholarly dissertation research on the “Patterns of Abundance and Distribution of Groundfish and Their Relations to Environmental Factors in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.”

This project was completed in conjunction with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Southwest Fisheries Science Center located in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  After completing her doctoral studies in Environmental Science she enrolled in law school at The University of Mississippi’s School of Law where she was awarded the Juris Doctor degree in May of 2013, subsequently passing the Mississippi Bar examination and becoming a licensed attorney within the State of Mississippi in 2013.

Prior to shifting her career from being a Ph.D. level Scientist to a Licensed Attorney within the state, she served as a college professor at Hinds Community College, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Holmes Community College, and The University of Mississippi and as a course developer and adjunct professor with UCLA-Extension, The University of Maryland University College, and New England College.  Additionally, Natasha is licensed by the Mississippi Department of Education as a Class AAAA K-12 Educator in the areas of Elementary Education, Science/Biology, and Social Studies and has served as an Educational Consultant.  After becoming licensed as an Attorney she has worked as the Chief Executive Officer for The Woods Group, LLC where she’s provided educational, business, sports management, and legal consulting services. 

Natasha also served as a Judicial Staff Attorney to Judge Larita Cooper-Stokes in the Hinds County Court system, as a State Prosecutor within the 21st Judicial District servicing Holmes, Humphreys, and Yazoo Counties, and now serves as a Special Assistant Attorney General within the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Mississippi. Natasha is an active member of the Mississippi Bar, the Magnolia Bar Association, the Mississippi Prosecutor’s Association, CityHeart Church, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Beta Delta Omega Chapter. 

Natasha has been married to Dr. Darrol Woods for 16 years and they have two sons:  Daniel age 15, and Darren age 11. 

Shalonda Spencer

March 11th, 2019 by alumni

Public Service and Advocacy is everything Shalonda Spencer stands for. She is a graduate from Jackson State University and the Advocacy Coordinator for ACLU of Mississippi, where she focuses on the affiliate’s criminal justice reform and voter rights centers of work.

While an undergraduate student Shalonda worked as a volunteer for former President Barack Obama’s campaign, which ignited her fire in public service. She was a part of various organizations and earned membership into The National Honors Society of Leadership and Success. After completing her undergraduate courses a semester early, she participated in Jackson State’s International Program and studied abroad in Bluefield’s, Nicaragua. In 2012, Shalonda graduate with a B.A in Criminal Justice. After graduation, she took an overseas assignment as a government contractor in Shindad, Afghanistan. She was able to visit places like Moscow, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan.

In 2014, Shalonda started her Master’s Program in Public Policy. While a graduate student she earned membership in Global Key International Honors Society and was a graduate assistant for The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO, where she educated local and long distance visitors on the Civil Rights Movement of Mississippi. Shalonda served as the Ward 4 Deputy City Clerk for the City of Jackson where she coordinated civic engagement projects throughout the district. Her experience organizing communities led her to become a campaign organizer for Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run in Hampton Roads, VA.

While studying public policy Shalonda wanted to take her previous international experience and view policy from a global lens. She moved to Washington, D.C. where she earned a fellowship position that allowed her to work at Mennonite Central Committee as a Foreign Policy Analyst. She evaluated issues and initiatives on overseas countries such as Latin America, North Korea, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Haiti. She launched an online advocacy campaign and published an article about Haiti to raise awareness of the lack of response from the United Nations and the U.S. government to the plight of cholera victims and their families.

After the fellowship, she was offered a position to serve as a Legislative Assistant for the United States House of Representatives for the 2nd Congressional District for the state of Mississippi. Her legislative portfolio consisted of women rights, social justice, foreign affairs, immigration, healthcare, and education. She was an active member of the Congressional Black Associates and Jackson State University Alumni – Greater Washington D.C chapter. Prior to ACLU, Shalonda was the Policy Coordinator for Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable where she continued her focus on women’s rights such as equal pay.

She now has a podcast called Politics and Empowerment with Shalonda Spencer where she educates the public on policy issues. Shalonda is the owner of Sor Consulting Group, a policy and political firm that allows her to work on different assignments with other organizations and businesses.

She was awarded the Academic Advancement, Leadership and Civic Engagement Award for Northeast Mississippi Student Leadership Conference. She currently serves as the 2nd Congressional District Representative and Women’s Caucus Chair a member of the Young Democrats of Mississippi. She is the Secretary-elect for Hinds County Federation of Democratic Women, a member of Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee, and a proud lady of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Georgia Kincaid Ingram

March 11th, 2019 by alumni

Dr. Ingram's educational career spans 32 years and is very proud of the role Jackson State University played in her success. In 2003 she graduated with a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. 

She currently serves as the School Transformational Officer for Woolfolk Middle School – Improvement Grant; a school where she previously taught and was Principal and the district's Director of School Improvement.

Her educational background includes a BA in Economics and a MS in Agricultural Economics from Alcorn State University; Masters in Elementary Education and  Masters of Education in School Administration and Supervision from Mississippi College.

In 1988 Dr. Ingram began her career in the education field as an Assistant Teacher in Claiborne County Mississippi, She has 9 years of teaching experience at Woolfolk Middle School in Yazoo City.  She began her administrative career in 2000 at Humphreys County High School in Belzoni and would later become Principal of Ida Green Elementary School. 

In 2003, she returned to Yazoo City School District and has held the roles of Assistant Principal at Yazoo City High School, 9 years as Federal Programs Director / Grant Manager; 2 years as Principal of Woolfolk Middle School and Alternative School Director. 

From 2016 – 2018, Dr. Ingram has held several roles simultaneously; Director of Child Nutrition, Curriculum Coordinator, School Improvement Director and District Test Coordinator. 

While she planned to retire in May 2018, circumstances led to her most recent accomplishment as Interim Superintendent for the Yazoo City Municipal School District from June 2018 through February 2019.

Tamika Smith

March 11th, 2019 by alumni

In the Fall of 2012, Ms. Smith received a BS in Mass Communications with a concentration in Advertising. Since completing her studies at JSU, Tamika has been active in the music, events, and marketing industries as a professional vocalist for major artists, event producer, and project manager. In 2016 she began a small business called SetLife Group where she produces large scale events such as; expos/conventions/concerts, brand activations, and entertainment booking and management.

In 2018 she began her career with Illumivation Studios in Chicago as an Advertising Executive specializing in creative design, fabrication, print and art installations for out of home media/advertising, retail merchandising, live events, experiential marketing and brand activations across the US.

During Tamika’s time at JSU, she was a well-known media scholar and was nationally recognized as a brand ambassador for Toyota’s Green Initiative; during an HBCU campaign to educate African American students on the effectiveness of sustainability. Tamika won a national marketing competition by promoting JSU’s eco-friendly practices and Toyota’s hybrid vehicles during special events and sports activations.

She was awarded an all-expense paid trip to Toyota’s headquarters in Torrance, CA. There she was given a brand-new Toyota Prius and facilities funding to plant a new tree garden on campus in her honor. This garden can be seen on the corner of JR Lynch Street and Dalton St in front of the University Administration Tower.

She since has spearheaded some amazing projects as a Producer working with clients such as; The Black Women's Expo Tour, B-Groomed Men's Expo, Facebook, Walgreens, Statefarm, BET, iHeart Media, Make A Wish Foundation, Workday, Toyota Green Initiative, Cirque Du Soleil, Simon Property Group, Disney, Walmart, AT&T, Live Nation, Sofar Sounds, YMCA Metro Chicago, United Airlines, BP, My Black is Beautiful, New York Fashion Week and many more.

As a background vocalist to the stars, Tamika has shared stages with international gospel stars such as: Deitrick Haddon, Fred Hammond, James Fortune, Marvin Sapp, Erica Campbell, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Tye Tribbett, Zacardi Cortez, Donald Lawrence, LeAndria Johnson, and many more.

Tamika would like to thank her educators and peers at Jackson State University for their mentorship and for preparing her with the tools she needed to succeed in her career. 

Dr. Fran’Cee Brown-McClure

March 11th, 2019 by alumni

As the Dean of Students at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Brown-McClure serves as a bridge between the student body and the College administration. She has oversight of Student Life and Engagement, Commuter Student Services, Campus Inclusion efforts, the Student Access Center, and Student Conduct. She also serves as a Deputy Title IX coordinator.

Prior to joining the Spelman College administration, Dr. Brown-McClure was an Associate Dean of Residential Education at Stanford University. During her career, she has served as an administrator in both public and private universities as well as large and small colleges and universities.

In addition, she has had experience working at predominately white institutions as well as historically black institutions. Dr. Brown-McClure received a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin in Educational Administration in 2015, A Masters of Social Work from Boston University in 2006, and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Jackson State University in 2004.

While at Jackson State, she was initiated into the Delta Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in the Spring of 2002. She served as President of the Delta Pi chapter from 2002-2004. She was also a student recruiter with Tiger P.R.I.D.E. Connection and a member of M.A.D.D.R.A.M.A. theatre troupe. Dr. Brown-McClure attributes her orientation to the field of student affairs and her fierce commitment to student engagement to the administrators at Jackson State who provided her with guidance and leadership.

Leadership and community engagement are critical components of what helps her to thrive. She has participated in the Senior Leadership Academy sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and is a member of the 2018 Class of LEAD Atlanta. She is currently serving as a track coordinator for the Gehring Academy and working on a chapter of a book on student conduct.

She is an active member of the Marietta Roswell Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a Board member of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project. Dr. Brown-McClure is a sought out speaker and facilitator. She frequently returns to Jackson State to speak with students about topics such as leadership in Greek Life and emotionally intelligent leadership. She has presented nationally on motherhood and management, black girl magic, cross-generational working relationships, and the importance of cross-racial friendships.

The most important role that Dr. Brown-McClure holds is that of a mom. She is the mother of a 9-year old competitive cheerleader named McKenzie. She tries every day to give to students what she was given in college and what she hopes future leaders will give to the future generations of students.

If you would like to contact Dr. Brown-McClure, please feel free to follow her on Instagram @_hey_dean or on Facebook @Fran’Cee BrownMcClure.