JSU Women’s History Month

Dr. Alma J. Dent Pittman

March 25th, 2019 by alumni

Dr. Alma J. Dent Pittman, originally from Yazoo, Mississippi, is currently the Vice President of Community Affairs for Pittman Enterprise. Dr. Pittman is also a retired registered nurse with over 35 years of service and former owner of her own radio talk show. She obtained an associate’s degree from Hinds Community College School of Nursing and pursued her clinical training at the University Medical Center in Jackson, MS and Albuquerque, NM.

Following clinical study, she began her career working at St. Dominic Memorial Hospital, where she specialized in pediatric, in-service education and preoperative/postoperative surgical care. Upon moving to Louisville, Kentucky she resumed her career at Baptist Hospital serving as an Orthopedic Nurse and Nurse Coordinator for the medical personnel pool. She later joined the Caretender’s medical team working as a private duty ventilator tracheotomy nurse.

Dr. Pittman has given back to her community accepting several speaking engagements such as the DuQuesne University School of Nursing Health Ethics Annual Meeting in 2007 and 2009, the Women’s Reconnection seminar held at St. Stephen Baptist Church in 2008 and was the 2004 keynote speaker for “Spirit of Excellence” Tribute to the Business community. She also delivered the keynote address for the 2011 Women of Color Entrepreneur conference hosted at Jackson State University.

 Dr. Pittman has served as a resource expert and catalyst on both the local and the state level for the development and implementation of faith-based health programs that promote, improve and maintain an individual’s wellbeing. Her passion for health and wellness has resulted in the manifestation of numerous health fairs and expositions for early detection and prevention of obesity and health disparities. Dr. Pittman recently launched, the BODY & SOUL program, an innovative spiritual health series geared to educate adults and children on positive eating and healthy living in order to ensure their optimal health.

As a result of her achievements and service to the community, Jackson State University bestowed an honorary doctorate degree to Dr. Pittman in 2017 to recognize her profound and enduring contributions to scholarship and improving the quality of life of students and the community at-large.

Along with an enhanced and fulfilled career, her greatest rewards are having inter-peace with God and a passion for humanity. Dr. Pittman is a dedicated server of God and her church. She is an active member of Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where she serves as a steward, choir member, missionary society member and former Church School Superintendent (18 years). She also served as the District Co-Director of Health and Wellness in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Dr. Pittman’s dedication and steadfast work has been recognized with the Pioneer Nursing Award and 2009 Leadership Award, presented by her pastor for grateful appreciation of her total commitment and dedication to the church school. Dr. Pittman was also presented an Exemplary Leadership and Service Award for church and community in 2010 by Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie. In addition, she received the Distinguish Donor Award for the mission of “rebuilding lives and communities” in the 13th Episcopal District 2007.

Dr. Pittman is a member of numerous organizations nationally and throughout the Louisville Metropolitan Area. Her memberships include, Life Member National Nurses Association; the KYANNA Black Nurses Association; and the advisory board of the Chestnut Street YMCA Black Achievers. Dr. Pittman is also a trustee at Simmons College of Kentucky (HBCU).

An important aspect of Dr. Pittman’s life is family – her husband of  48 years, Winston R. Pittman, Sr., three children, Winston R. Pittman, Jr. (Vice President of Pittman Enterprise), Misty V. Withers (mother and studying health psychology), and Jabari D. Pittman, Sr. (personal fitness trainer), a son-in-law, Marcus D. Withers Sr. (real estate developer), two daughters- in- law Sarita K. Pittman (salon and spa director), Mia Pittman (data analyst), and five grandchildren Kennedy, Jayce, Hardt, Marcus, II  and Jabari, Jr.



Dr. Courtney J. Pitts

March 25th, 2019 by alumni

Dr. Courtney J. Pitts received her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Jackson State University, a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Pitts is the Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University where she serves as the Academic Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and the Co-Academic Director of the Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner programs. She is also an advisor in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

As a leader in NP education, Dr. Pitts focus is on racial and ethnic diversity within nurse practitioner education. Her scholarship addresses the promotion of a sense of community and mentorship among nurse practitioner students in hybrid learning environments, as well as HIV and primary care.  She has served two consecutive terms as a Board Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). 

Clinically, Dr. Pitts is an experienced FNP who currently practices primary care in a Ryan White-funded clinical setting where she provides HIV management and care to individuals with HIV. She is also experienced in primary care in a family/internal medicine urban setting. She is a member of the NONPF, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC). 

Dr. Brenda Kaye Miller Thompson

March 25th, 2019 by alumni

Dr. Brenda Kaye Miller Thompson received her Bachelor’s degree in History from Jackson State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 33 months. She was active in several organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; as well as, the recipient of many honors and awards. She earned the M.A. degree from the University of Colorado (Boulder) in Urban Geography at the age of 21; and, earned the Ph.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) in Urban Geography.

Dr. Thompson was married to Rev. Dr. Taylor T. Thompson, a former Business Executive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their son and only child, Cortlandt Gerard Thompson, a fifth generation African Methodist, was robbed and murdered on October 22, 2014.

 Dr. Thompson, a fourth generation A.M.E., has served as a delegate to three of the World Methodist Council Executive meetings, representing the African Methodist Episcopal Church.   

  • 1977-Dr. Thompson was a delegate to the World Methodist Council Executive Meeting in ReutiHasliberg, Switzerland, with a stay in Geneva Switzerland. She served as a member on the Nominating Committee.


  • 1978-Dr. Thompson was a delegate to the World Methodist Council Executive Meeting in Hoddeson, England with a stay in London, England. It was this meeting that the council members had tea with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip. This was a highlight that Dr. Thompson will always treasure. She also served as a member of the Nominating Committee. 


  • 1979-Dr. Thompson was a delegate to the World Methodist Council Executive Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Again, she served as a member on the Nominating Committee.


In 1981, Dr. Thompson attended the 14th World Methodist Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. In addition to the above foreign travels, she has been to Ireland, Canada, and traveled extensively throughout the United States. 

Dr. Thompson was employed at Jackson State University for 34 years after retiring in May of 2014, Dr. Thompson retired from the University as Founding Director of the Center for Student Professional Development in the College of Liberal Arts and Geography Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy. She is the Past Founder and Director of the Black History Challenge Bowl; Past Director of the National Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Bowl for several years, which brought the University tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships. She served as a reader for The Researcher; and, was recognized and honored as a member of the Thousand Dollar Club at Jackson State University. She also chaired many other committees. She was also the recipient of many honors too numerous to list.

Besides her religious affiliations, Dr. Thompson holds membership in the following: Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Association of American Geographers; and the NAACP.

Dr. Thompson has published four books in geographic education which she used in her classes. She also published articles; presented papers at professional meetings; conducted professional workshops; and received thousands of dollars in funding for her proposals. Dr. Thompson is in demand as a speaker for Women’s Day, Laymen’s Day, Missionary Day, and Church Anniversary.

Dr. Thompson’s Two Established Scholarships at the Jackson State University Development Foundation

After Dr. Thompson’s retirement in May of 2014, and her son’s death in October of 2014, she established the following two scholarships in 2015 at the Jackson State University Development Foundation. But, in December of 2017, both scholarships were opened for public donations. They are:

  • Mr. Cortlandt Gerard Thompson Annual Memorial Scholarship Fund (#220290)
  • Dr. Brenda Kaye Miller Thompson Annual Memorial Scholarship Fund (#220295)

Mr. Cortlandt Gerard Thompson’s scholarship fund at Jackson State University is designated for African American males (ages 18-35) from the State of Mississippi, who must meet the criteria for a second chance.

Dr. Thompson’s scholarship fund at Jackson State University is designated for an African American male or female (ages 18-35) from the Mississippi Delta, who must meet the criteria for a second chance.

Dr. Thompson strongly believes that it is very important that African Americans meet their full potential.  Education is the key. Some individuals have the desire, the talent, and the creativity to attend college, but they lack the financial resources. There are some who have made mistakes. They should not be punished for life. With her funds and donations from the public, she knows that together we can meet the challenge and make the difference.


For tax deductible contributions/donations by mail, please complete the following:


___$__________#220290   Mr. Cortlandt Gerard Thompson Annual Memorial                

                                             Scholarship Fund

___$__________#220295   Dr. Brenda Kaye Miller Thompson Annual Memorial

                                             Scholarship Fund


Please make check(s) payable to Jackson State University Development Foundation and mail with this form to the following address:


                                            Jackson State University Development Foundation

                                            P.O. Box 17144

                                            Jackson, MS  39217



Address___________________________         City_____________ State____ Zip Code_______



NOTE: For on-line contributions to the above scholarships, you will find their names beginning with their titles. For Cortlandt’s scholarship fund, look under the M for Mr. Cortlandt Gerard Thompson Annual Memorial Scholarship Fund.  For Dr. Thompson’s scholarship fund, look under the D for Dr. Brenda Kaye Miller Thompson Annual Memorial Scholarship Fund.

To make an online contribution: click here

L. Nicole Clinkscales, Esq.

March 25th, 2019 by alumni

L. Nicole Clinkscales is a native of Columbus, Mississippi and a 1992 graduate of Jackson State University with a BA in Finance. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law and later established the law firm, Clinkscales, where she focuses on family law, personal injury, and criminal defense.

Among her many honors, she holds the title of the first female Municipal Court Judge for the City of Columbus, Mississippi.  Her greatest passion is spending time and mentoring the youth. Nicole has devoted her life to serving others and continues her involvement in community and social organization. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the NAACP.  Nicole also serves as Chapter President for the  National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the JSUNAA Columbus local chapter.  Nicole’s life motto is “If any among you desires to be great, she must be, first of all, servant of all!” Nicole believes this is the greatest gift you can give to God and your fellow man – your unselfish service.

Nicole is the proud mother of one amazing son, Jalen, who attends Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

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.