NIA DOAKS | Managing Editor
Tensie Taylor, a 2009 graduate of N.C. State, has been steadily achieving success and making strides since her time at the undergraduate level.
Along with earning her master’s of education and moving to California, Taylor has had the opportunity to network with many A-list celebrities, be on the Wheel of Fortune, and work in higher education.
Taylor majored in communication with a minor in psychology. While at N.C. State, she was active in many organizations and worked as a Resident Advisor and a Chancellor’s Aide.
“This has history to me, because both my brother and sister attended State and were Chancellor’s Aides,” Taylor said. “I continued a legacy, and this really opened me up to how determined I was as an individual. I was able to interact with the Chancellor’s guests and really network.”
Throughout her undergraduate career, Taylor held four different internships in corporate America. During her freshman year, she was a corporate communications intern for Nortel Network. The other internships that she held as an undergrad were a marketing consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield, a technical writer for IBM, and a marketing consultant for Progress Energy.
Currently, Taylor is the manager of the Black Alumni Association at the University of Southern California. She also occasionally assists with hosting Red Carpet events.
“I got involved with that because of networking,” said Taylor. “When I get someone’s business card, I follow up. I met a woman [in the industry] at an event, and I reached out to her. She asked me if I wanted to attend events and do press releases for her, and [it continued] from there.”
Taylor has met a number of A-list celebrities, including Magic Johnson, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealey, and Angela Bassett.
“Even though education is my passion, I wanted to get into the entertainment industry,” said Taylor. “If I get more status, I could really be a voice and help others.”
Taylor hopes to start a school and various internship and scholarship opportunities for students in the future in order to give back to her community.
Most recently, on October 9, Taylor was featured as a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune. Taylor has hoped for a chance to be on the show since she was five years old, and she applied for the show every day (365 times) in 2013—to no avail.
“I was determined to be on Wheel of Fortune,” said Taylor. “When I moved to California I was focused on completing my masters, but I still applied every day in 2013 and heard nothing. Seven days into the new year, 2014, I got an email saying that I had been selected to audition.”
After several rounds of auditioning, Taylor was selected to be a contestant on the live show, which receives around 15 million viewers per night. She was able to meet Pat and Vanna, and came in second place. “I think that I could’ve easily won, but it’s all a game of chance,” said Taylor. “I was one wedge away from a million dollars, and then I hit bankrupt. I was disappointed that I wasn’t a big winner, but I still got to take home what I won and got the chance to be on national T.V.” Taylor enjoys mentoring others and hopes to be able to give back to the community of higher education in the future. She stressed the importance of networking and perseverance.
“Never give up, be persistent, and be patient,” said Taylor. “This applies to everything in life- don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. If I had listened to the negativity and the doubters I would have never reached my goals. There will be a lot of doubters and naysayers, but use that as motivation to prove them wrong.
Professor & New Assistant Dean in CHASS
QUIANNE’ HOLMES | Correspondent
Dr. Blair Kelley is a woman of many endeavors. Recently named Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs for NC State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Kelley has been at NC State since 2002. She is also an associate professor of History.
She embraces the transition into the Assistant dean position because she is able to take her experiences and observations from her years in the classroom and apply it to making improvements for the college. Describing her position is an interesting new change, and she acknowledged that it is her honor to serve at NC State.
An expert in history, specifically African American Studies, Dr. Kelley received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and her M.A. and Ph. D. from Duke University. Her first book, Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship, won the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.
However, despite her academic and professional achievements, she counts her greatest accomplishment as striving to balance between being a mom, wife, a professor, Assistant dean, along with volunteering in her community. Dr. Kelley has a lovely family with two children: an eleven year-old daughter, a two year-old son and a husband of thirteen years.
She tries to create balance between home and work life by making sure she dedicates enough time and effort into everything she does. In the community, she enjoys participating in her church and providing resources from her professional background to help keep people involved and engaged in the community.
Dr. Kelley is not only inspirational but she is also inspired by two important people whose efforts had a positive influence on the Civil Rights Movement. Ida B. Wells and Ella Baker are two historic African-American women admired most by Kelley.
She described Ida B. Wells as a “brave journalist,” whose ideas and courage were so modern even though she began her career more than a century ago. Kelley also suggested that Wells’ efforts to balance her roles as a wife, mother, and journalist was very admirable and before her time. Dr. Kelley highlighted the ways that Ida B. Wells received backlash for her brave attitude and outspokenness, yet she continued to fight for the rights of African-Americans.
Kelley also appreciates North Carolinian Ella Baker’s efforts to organize the Civil Rights Movement throughout the South. Baker helped lay the groundwork for the movement by recruiting new members to the NAACP in the 1940’s, helped Martin Luther King Jr. to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and encouraged the students who sat-in at lunch counters throughout the South in the spring of 1960 to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Dr. Kelly admired Baker for her tenacity and her willingness to work without the national spotlight for the good of the movement.
Kelley’s inspirations have shaped her into the historian she is today. Her poise and drive are reminiscent of a modern day Ida B. Wells. Kelley steps outside of the box with her writings and especially in her podcast, Historical Blackness. She speaks about race, blackness, and social hierarchies in the American context and with her discussions has noticed that there are a lot of people outside of the academy who are interested in hearing information about our current situation and history. Of course, everyone who has opinions receives backlash and Dr. Kelley understands this and knows that despite negative commentary, her work has a meaning and a purpose.
Dr. Kelley’s advice for a college student: “College is a unique opportunity, never in your life will it feel like this. Enjoy your adventure because once time moves forward things get set and the likelihood of having such unique opportunities again is very limited. So travel, read, take classes that challenge your thinking. Don’t sit back, take advantage of what resources N.C. State provides.” Often times students don’t take advantage of all the resources available on NC State’s campus. Many times, African Americans don’t study abroad due to financial constraints which can limit opportunities to explore different cultures and learn new languages. If African-American students don’t become involved with student organizations, their participation in the advancement and improvement of the community is nonexistent. Change starts with one person, movement comes from support, and impact comes from the strength behind a voice.
What will you do to impact North Carolina State University? How will you use the resources on the campus to help you take on a new opportunity? What ideas do you have to help improve conditions at NC State? North Carolina is a school for academics but it is also a network for innovating and diverse creativity.
Writer’s message: With my best regards, it was my honor to interview such a modest professional African American woman. To know that a historian on NC State’s campus has such an influence in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and in the community, it is a reflection of what I aspire to be. I encourage all students to take time out of their schedules just to have a conversation with Dr. Blair Kelley. It will be a worthwhile experience.
On this day, October 15, in the year 1966 two college students, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seales echoing the words of rapper Rakim, “thinking of a master plan” formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.What later became known simply as the “Black Panther Party.”
From 1966 to 1982 the paramilitary-style political organization’s main was to advocate the success of the African-American community. The college student group aimed to create social programs for those aforementioned Americans in the wake of continued racial discrimination. It was the late 1960s and Jim Crow was still in full effect.
The Panthers lived by a code of Black self-determination, anti-capitalism and looked to achieve equal rights by the same principle contemporary and fellow activist Malcolm X taught, “by any means necessary.” They eventually became known as a Marxist revolutionary group, which calls for followers to essentially overthrow outdated principles by force, in other words, they aimed to overthrow the fundamental laws of Jim Crow. These teachings led to a mass arming of African-Americans, refusing to enter the military if drafted, disassociating oneself with all sanctions of so-called white America, releasing every incarcerated African-American, and calling for compensation monetarily for centuries of exploitation by white Americans.
Though the Black Panther Party shared certain philosophical ideas with other contemporary African-American culture groups, it eventually set itself apart. The Panthers outlined a Ten-Point Program that served as guidelines the organization faithfully operated by. For example, whereas other groups named all whites as oppressors, the Panthers believed that there were in fact non-racist whites, and they looked to ally themselves with those people.
The Ten-Point Program’s platform was composed of two sections, the first of which expressed what the Panthers immediately wanted from those they deemed as a racist hindrance to the success of African-Americans, or else. In all, the program expressed what the organizers believed, such as believing that the racist government robbed them.
At the height of its influence, the organization’s membership was estimated to be 10,000 members.
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover declared the organization the greatest threat to national security and began his infamous Counterintelligence Program, COINTELPRO faction to infiltrate and destroy the organization.
Don’t be misinformed, the Black Panther Party sought to leave a positive mark in the African-American community through aforementioned social programs. Newton and the Panthers started programs like the founding of the Oakland Community School, which provided high-level education to 150 children who resided in forgotten impoverished neighborhoods. Their Free Breakfast for Children Program children offered dances and training in martial arts.
The Panthers were also in control of their own newspaper, The Black Panther Newspaper, that disseminated news and information its producers thought was relevant to African-Americans communities.
The legacy and influence of the Black Panther Party assumed a sort of character that often went beyond their support groups and programs. After the mid-1970s the ‘80s, the Party began to recede. J. Edgar Hoover was successful in his COINTELPRO efforts but the real demise was due to the dissolving of the party’s leaders either due to reasons such as death like Huey P. Newton and Fred Hampton, exile like Assata Shakur or deciding to become a member of groups un-associated with the Panthers like Eldridge Cleaver.
The Black Panther Party’s trials represent an ongoing struggle of everyday people to achieve complete and uncompromising justice and human rights. Lessons such as the need for economic parity and attainable education for all are relevant today.
Oct 15 2014
Utley’s latest collection is inspired by Gentrification and currently on display in the African American Cultural Center Gallery in the Witherspoon Student Center. His collection is entitled “Any City, AMERICA,” it opened on Monday, Oct. 6.
Gentrification is illustrated in the pieces that make up Any City, AMERICA, through the placement of structural models in different urban settings.
Utley’s work is a exhibition of his background in both art and architecture.
“I hope people walk away with a better understanding of Gentrification,” said Utley.
Utley was introduced to Gentrification and its impact firsthand after begining his career as an architect after earning a B.A. in Architecture from the College of Design at N.C. State.
Utley said he began to see his job in development redesign differently, because the impact new projects would have on current residents.
Such as what happened to the people and where they would go became concerns of his and since he has wanted to spread awareness.
“I don’t see it ending anytime soon,” said Utley. “But I do see more noise being made about it.”
The artist and architect said the white miniature houses represent something new and are easily identifiable said Utley.
“I wanted something simple everyone could identify with,” said Utley. “It’s familiar and foreign at the same time.”
He said he left them white because it’s ambiguous, and foreshadows something new.
The center and the College of Design also hosted a lunch and learn event where guests discussed Gentrification and Utley’s start as an architect.
“We are really proud of what he’s done,” said Dr. Carol Love, former N.C. State associate dean and professor.
According to Love while in high school Utley won two of 7 UP’s art contests, the monetary winnings paid for his first year’s tuition cost at N.C. State.
In addition to his architecture degree from the College of Design, Utley has an an M.F.A. in Visual Arts from Lesley University, College of Art and Design (formerly the Art Institute of Boston) in Boston MA.
He has also earned a second B.A. in Environmental Design from the College of Design at North Carolina State University.