JSU Women’s History Month

Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson

March 5th, 2018 by giving

Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson is an Ordained minister, the wife of Ernest Johnson, the mother of Ernie Johnson and Taylor Johnson, and the grandmother of E’nayla Johnson.  Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson was born the seventh of ten children to Mr. Prince and Annie Taylor in Magnolia, Mississippi.

She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Jackson State University and her Juris Doctor from Southern University Law Center.  Prior to her first term in the Judiciary, her legal career began as Partner in the law firm of Johnson, Ritzie, Taylor and Thomas.  Thereafter, Judge Johnson was admitted to practice before the Louisiana Federal District Courts, Federal Appellate Courts and the United States Supreme Court.  She has held many positions as a practicing attorney, including but not limited to:  Managing Attorney, Staff Attorney, General Counsel for Louisiana Department of Education, General Counsel NAACP Louisiana State Conference, and Co-Counsel on the Clark vs. Edwards case; which made it possible for African Americans to be elected to the Judiciary in the State of Louisiana.

In addition to pioneering the landscape as a lawyer, Judge Johnson has also been at the forefront of reform as a Judge.  In 1994, Judge Johnson was elected as Judge for East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court, to fill an unexpired term.  She was re-elected for a second term of office in 1996, third term in 2002, fourth term in 2008, and in 2014 she was elected to a fifth term in office.  She has worked with other elected officials, public servants and community leaders to create an alternative school program to serve at risk youth.  After her first year on the bench, Judge Johnson created the Juvenile Justice Community Task Force which led to the creation of the first Juvenile Drug Court Program which provided treatment services, regardless of income, to all children in the parish. She was also instrumental in establishing a Boy Scout Program for juveniles within the Juvenile Court System.  Judge Johnson continues to serve on the bench and has done so for the past 22 years, continuing to dedicate her life to helping children through service and her love for the law.

 Judge Johnson has always worked to uplift people and her community.  In keeping with that commitment, she gave local attorneys an opportunity to serve as Judge Ad Hoc for her.  Judge Johnson further provided opportunities for attorneys to serve as faculty on continuing legal education programs that were planned by Judge Johnson.  Just as Judge Johnson’s career choice impacts the health and education of our children, her civic endeavors demonstrates a similar commitment.  Judge Johnson serves and has served on numerous boards and committees on National, State and local levels.

Judge Johnson is an active member in a number of legal and civic organizations, and societies such as:  the Louisiana Judicial Council, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Judicial Council National Bar Association, National Association of Women Judges, life member of the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Jackson State Alumni Association.  She also serves as an educator. Judge Johnson serves on the faculty as an Adjunct Professor at Southern University Department of Criminal Justice and is a registered Parliamentarian.  She is an active member at her church Full Gospel United Pentecostal Church in Baton Rouge and many other civic and community organizations.

Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson draws her wisdom and fortitude from all of her experiences as wife, parent, community member, advocate for children causes, and most of all, the word of God.  It is a rich compilation of these attributes that makes Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson uniquely suited as Judge.

Ashley Dennis-Varnado

March 5th, 2018 by giving

ASHLEY DENNIS-VARNADO is the Business Finance Officer for The CFO Group at Bank of America. In this role, Ashley is responsible for forecasting, strategic planning, and portfolio management of the CFO group’s non-interest expense totaling $1.8B. Ashley’s day to day responsibilities include analyzing and communicating impacts related to personnel and non-personnel impacts, expense commitment strategies for The CFO and his leadership team, management of allocations, and accruals for Global CFO. Before this role, Ashley was the Global Diversity & Inclusion and Employee Engagement Manager for the CFO organization at Bank of America where she was responsible for establishing and managing the global diversity, inclusion, and engagement strategies for over 4,500 CFO employees (worldwide).

Ashley served in multiple finance roles since joining the bank in 2008 as an FMAP (Finance Management Analyst Program). Her previous roles included product portfolio management as the Business Finance Support Officer for Home Equity, Deposit Products & Operations, Corporate Real Estate, and most recently the Financial Center & ATM Strategy for Consumer Bank.  Prior to her tenure at Bank of America and as a student at Jackson State University, Ashley interned at Wells Fargo (San Francisco, CA), Parkway Properties (Jackson, MS) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MS (Flowood, MS).  Ashley continues to participate as a recruiter and mentor through the CFO Mentoring Program, Black Professional Group, LEAD for Women, and the FMAP Program.

As a native of Yazoo City, MS, Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Jackson State University (2009) and a master’s degree in business Administration from Mississippi State University (2013). She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and son. Outside of traveling for JSU Football, Ashley enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family.

Dr. Kesia Pope

March 5th, 2018 by giving

Dr. Kesia Pope is a 21 year veteran public school educator, currently serving as principal at Bay Springs High School. Since Pope took the lead at Bay Springs High, the rating improved from C to B the first year and showed more growth (eight points shy of an A rating) the second year.  She earned National Board Certification in Young Adult and Adolescent Science, and she is a former Teacher of the Year for Hattiesburg Public School District.  While studying biology at Jackson State University, Pope played “funky" cymbals in the Sonic Boom of the South, was initiated into the Delta Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Pope earned the Master of Science from JSU in biology and the Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi in educational leadership. She has worked along with her JSU alumni parents, Mr. & Mrs. Jessie (Emma) Pope in the JSUNAA Hattiesburg Chapter.   Dr. Pope is executing with excellence as president of the Hattiesburg Chapter, and she is co-chair of the alumni's Talent/Fashion Exhibition and Scholarship Fundraiser. 

The chapter is presently providing financial support for 19 students enrolled at JSU.  Worshipping at the Kensington Woods church of Christ, Dr. Pope teaches youth Bible classes and is active with the congregation's care groups. A former board member of The Leaf Foundation, Pope received the honor of Volunteer of the Year in 2014.  Dr. Pope was recently nominated for LifeChanger of the Year, a national competition among K-12 educators. 

Family, friends and well wishers may still post supportive comments at www.lifechangeroftheyear.com to help her claim the LifeChanger Award later this Spring. Capitalizing upon physical fitness, she is a marathoner and triathlete.  Pope has one son, Khalil Pope, who is a Senior majoring in Sports Psychology at Faulkner Christian University in Montgomery, Alabama.  Stay tuned as Dr. Pope is polishing the publication of her book, Kreative Kaptions.

Jennifer S. Love

March 5th, 2018 by giving

Jennifer Love is the Global Chief Security Officer and Senior Vice President of Safety, Environment and Health for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises, and Croisieres de France.  She is responsible for leading and continuously improving these areas throughout the company’s global operations, including multiple land sites, over 60,000 employees, five million annual guests and its fleet of 48 cruise ships. Ms. Love reports directly to company President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein.

Prior to joining Royal Caribbean in September 2015, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer for Cablevision Systems Corporation, where she was responsible for the company’s comprehensive security functions. She oversaw enterprise-wide security programs and processes for the company that included physical security, employee and customer safety, incident prevention, response and risk assessment, cyber security, aviation, executive security and travel. Additionally, Ms. Love ensured that Cablevision complied with all security policy requirements and served as the company’s chief liaison to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Ms. Love is a seasoned security professional with a strong record of creating and implementing security policy and operational procedures. Before joining Cablevision, she spent 25 years as an executive level security, law enforcement and intelligence professional with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Her final position in the FBI was the Assistant Director of the Security Division where she was responsible for all FBI security disciplines.  Her specific areas of responsibility included physical security, personnel security, information security, the FBI Police, and the executive protection of the Attorney General of the US and the FBI Director.  In short, Ms. Love was responsible for the safety and security of all FBI facilities, assets, employees, visitors, contractors, and information.

Ms. Love began her career with the FBI serving in a range of roles that included financial analyst and special agent. This work took her from St. Louis to New Orleans to Chicago to Baton Rouge, and eventually, FBI headquarters, following her appointment as a supervisory special agent in the Office of Professional Responsibility.   Ms. Love was eventually named section chief in the FBI Headquarters Counterterrorism Division, where she oversaw administrative functions and programs, and later the Counterterrorism Division’s Communication Exploitation Section.

Ms. Love held numerous managerial and leadership positions throughout her career with the FBI, both in the field and at FBI Headquarters ending her career having either worked or managed every criminal and national security violation in the FBI.

Ms. Love was also the Special Agent in Charge of both the Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division and the Richmond Field Office.  In those two roles, she was responsible for managing and leading all Criminal Investigations in Washington, DC, and northern Virginia and operations in Richmond, Virginia and the 82 surrounding counties.

During her FBI Career, she received many awards including being a 2010 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service, conferred by President Barak Obama.  This is the highest award in the U.S. Government given to civilian employees.

A native of Mississippi, Ms. Love holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Jackson State University where she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.  Also, she is a member of the Board of Directors of United Way Miami-Dade and Kristi House, a private, non-profit organization in Miami, Florida, dedicated to healing and eradicating child sexual abuse.


March 31st, 2017 by giving

Dr. Nicole Edwards Evans is an accomplished teacher, researcher and scholar. A product of Jackson Public Schools, Evans is a 1992 graduate of Jim Hill High. She has nearly 20 years of experience as a higher education faculty member and administrator, with a longstanding interest in increasing higher education access and affordability.

She holds a doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Research and a master’s degree in public relations from the University of Southern Mississippi. She received her bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University. In addition, Evans has completed two postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Currently, Evans is Vice President for Enrollment Management and Institutional Research at JSU. In this capacity, she oversees a variety of matters relating to students and faculty. Specifically, she provides leadership in the areas of accreditation, academic assessment, institutional research, strategic planning, enrollment management, extended studies and online degree programs. She also provided leadership to the most recent Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmation process, which resulted in the institution being reaccredited for 10 years.

Prior to joining JSU in 2006, Evans held positions at Tougaloo College as a faculty member in the Department of English and at Lane College in Tennessee as a Vice President.

In February 2003, she appeared in Ebony Magazine as a “Young Leader of the Future.” The annual feature highlights 30 leaders under age 30 from throughout the country who have excelled in their careers.

Evans believes that “to whom much is given, much is required.” Accordingly, she has a history of service to the community and social organizations. Current service includes Jackson State University Development Foundation Inc. – Women’s Council of Philanthropy; Jackson State University National Alumni Association; and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is also a member of the 2002 class of Leadership Jackson. Previously, she served as vice president of the JPS’ City-wide Council of PTSA and a troop leader for Girl Scouts of America.

Evans, a member of Greater Saint James Missionary Baptist Church, also holds membership in a variety of professional organizations such as American Council on Education (ACE); Association for Institutional Research (AIR); and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). In addition, she is an Evaluator for SACS, the southern region accrediting body, where she conducts reviews of other SACS accredited institutions.

Toyketa Horne, ‘13

March 30th, 2017 by giving

Toyketa Horne is a native of Shubuta, MS and a 2009 graduate of Alcorn State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. While attending ASU, she was a part of several campus organizations such as: Beta Kappa Chi Honor Society, Alpha Chi Sigma Professional Chemistry Fraternity, Khem Club, and Tri-Beta. In addition, she became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. where she held the offices of Vice President and President. She had the distinction of participating in various internships and co-op opportunities ranging from research at national laboratories to working experiences at an industrial site facility.

Toyketa went on to further her education by obtaining a Masters of Science degree in Chemistry from Jackson State University. She completed her thesis studies on “The investigation of newly synthesized acyclic and macrocyclic receptors and their binding abilities towards anionic systems using various analytical methods”. Her research was published in several international science journals.  Subsequently, she was hired as the Laboratory Coordinator for JSU’s Department of Chemistry.

After working for two years at JSU, Toyketa accepted a Nuclear Chemistry Technician position at Southern Company’s Alvin A. Vogtle Nuclear Power Generating Plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. She was one of nine individuals chosen in the first cohort of Chemistry Technicians at the newly designed Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plant. Once completed, the Vogtle site is slated be the largest nuclear power generation site in the nation. Toyketa is presently working as a Sr. Nuclear Chemistry Technician where she is responsible for testing, analyzing and maintaining various chemistry parameters associated with the construction and operation of systems at the plant site.

Arlinda Fair, ‘11

March 29th, 2017 by giving

Arlinda Fair is passionate about developing educational opportunities that help students from underserved populations achieve college and career success. As a Chicago native, Arlinda understands the impact a college education can have on a student’s personal and professional growth, because her life changed the day she stepped foot on Jackson State’s campus.

Arlinda credits her academic and career success to the amazing faculty, staff and students of the JSU College of Business. As an Entrepreneurship and Marketing major, professors like Dr. Jean-Claude Assad, Dr. Nicholas Hill, Dr. Mary White and Dr. Kenneth Russ inspired Arlinda in the classroom, while staff like Lori Swanier and Ms. Mercidee Curry molded Arlinda’s professionalism and integrity.

As an undergraduate student, Arlinda belonged to a number of campus organizations, including the JSU Concert Chorale, Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) and the Blue Key Honors Society. Arlinda was elected Junior Class President in 2009 and she also served as President of the Delta Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in 2010. With a 3.8 GPA, Arlinda graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2011, and returned to JSU to earn her M.B.A. in 2014.

Arlinda has accumulated a wealth of experience in higher education administration, research and policy. She currently manages graduate enrollment, marketing and international recruitment for the School of Business Administration at Marymount University in Arlington, VA. Prior to Marymount, Arlinda coordinated marketing and recruitment efforts for the U.S. Department of State English Language Programs at Georgetown University. Arlinda’s career in higher education was established at Jackson State University, where she served as a Marketing Associate for University Communications, as well as a Minority Recruiter for the Department of Undergraduate Recruitment.

Arlinda’s professional goals include earning a Ph.D. in education policy, as she hopes to influence change in the U.S. education system and protect the legacy of HBCU’s and other minority-serving institutions.

Krystal Sanders, ‘08, ‘10

March 28th, 2017 by giving

Krystal Sanders is a 2008 and 2010 graduate of Jackson State University. She is a proud Jacksonian who credits Jackson State University for being instrumental in her growth and development. She attended JSU and graduated with her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in 2008 and her Master of Technology Education degree in 2010. She will acquire her MBA from Delta State University this summer. During her matriculation through JSU, she was very active on campus and in the community. She was Miss Sophomore, Junior Class Vice President, Miss Senior, Miss Baptist Student Union, a member of Tiger Pride Connection and the American Marketing Association. She became a member of the Delta Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated in 2006 and she served as the Physical and Mental Health chairperson as well as the recording secretary. She was also a consecutive Dean's List Scholar. In addition, Krystal was one of the charter members for the Blue Key Honor Society and she was also a member of Epsilon Pi Tau and Chi Alpha Epsilon honor societies. 

While at JSU, Krystal implemented her personal platform called “Transforming Troubled Youth into High Achievers” where she partnered with Blackburn Middle School to provide mentorship, tutoring, guidance, love, and support to those who needed it most.

She currently resides in Frisco, TX (North Dallas) and serves in the Higher Education sector at Collin College.  Krystal is a national motivational speaker and has spoken at several churches, high schools and organizations such as Noxubee County High School, McComb High School, the Boys and Girls Club of Frisco and many more. She also has a non-profit called "The Beautification Project" which is a program designed to increase confidence and positive self-esteem in young ladies who are less fortunate. She instills in them the importance of positive self-image and self-care and has held many workshops on healthy habits (hair, skincare, eating), etiquette, public speaking, time management, organizing and budgeting and even college and career fairs. 

She enjoys spending quality time with family, learning new things, and utilizing her braiding talents by providing free services for foster children. Krystal credits God, family, and JSU for who she is today. Her personal motto is “Success to me is spiritual, mental, physical, professional, and financial. However, it’s not about reaching the highest level of success that I can possibly attain; rather it’s about being able and willing to reach back to help others.” 


March 27th, 2017 by giving

Carlyn Hicks, Senior Staff Attorney and Clinical Adjunct Professor at Mission First Legal Aid Office at Mississippi College School of Law, has spearheaded efforts to make Parent Representation in Child Welfare cases a reality for Mississippi families.  As clinical adjunct professor and founding supervising attorney of the Child Welfare and Family Justice Clinic, she provides supervision, instruction, and training to third year law students interested in learning hands-on experience and gaining skill development in family defense.

Carlyn is actively involved in the leadership of the Mississippi Bar Association in varying capacities, including past tenure on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors and founding chairman of the Mississippi Bar’s Child Welfare and Child Advocacy Committee. Prior to that, Carlyn was selected to participate in the Mississippi Bar’s 2016 Leadership Forum. Additionally, Carlyn is a member of the Parent Representation Task Force, where she works with statewide and national stakeholders to enhance and expand parent representation across the state. Carlyn is called upon regionally and nationwide to present on topics related to quality family representation and policy reform in child welfare. In 2015, Carlyn was honored with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division National Child Advocacy Award for her many contributions to the improvement of the lives of children.

When she’s not representing clients or training the next wave of law students in family defense, Carlyn is still serving and making an impact. Carlyn was recently honored by the Jackson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (now Visit Jackson, MS!) as a 2016 Hometown Hero for her work and contributions to the local food service economy with the creation of the Jackson Foodies, a grassroots group of nearly 6000 individuals who support Jackson Restaurants. Carlyn recently utilized the relationships fostered with the restaurant industry to partner with several noteworthy chefs, restauranteurs, and citizens to offer a four-star fine dining Pop-Up Restaurant experience for the homeless. Recently, Carlyn was recognized as a Young Professional on the Rise for her professional and community contributions.

Hicks is a Business Administration Major in JSU's WEB Dubois Honors College and was initiated into the Gamma Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, where she served in local, regional, and international capacities. 

Brittany B. Kimble, J.D., ‘07

March 27th, 2017 by giving

Attorney Brittany B. Kimble began her legal career early, working for the Public Defender Service in the District of Columbia during her undergraduate studies. Kimble’s experience working with felony and misdemeanor criminal defendants gave her a unique insider’s view into the anatomy of a criminal case. She learned quickly how to analyze the facts and build a solid and successful defense. She has done extensive legal research on the issues of wrongful conviction and 4th Amendment constitutional rights.


Attorney Kimble has built upon her criminal defense experience by representing many criminal defendants in both state and federal courts throughout Illinois. Kimble’s impressive criminal defense background also encompasses serious felony cases, including defendants charged with first-degree murder.

Attorney Kimble has successfully handled numerous family law and domestic relations matters, including paternity, divorce, and post-judgment child custody and support matters. Her compassionate approach to client representation has earned her a reputation as a caring – yet tough – advocate of her clients’ best interests.

She has also helped many small business clients with a variety of legal matters, including trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and LLC  formation.

Attorney Kimble is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, a member of the Illinois State Bar, and has been admitted as pro hac vice counsel in both Wisconsin and Indiana.