• Bettye Thomas-Gilkey, Senior Staff Writer

HBCU FEATURE-YANICE (CARTER) JACKSON-LONG ATTENDED CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY


Courtesy Photo-Yanice Jackson-Long

Yanice always had a desire to attend an HBCU even as an undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University where she majored in Broadcast Journalism. Upon visiting her friends in Atlanta, Georgia, they went to the Atlanta University Student Center and she was astounded by the ambience of the black college environment. It reminded her of the television shows she watched as a young girl. “It was so nice to see all the people who looked like me,” she said. “They represented so many diverse backgrounds, too. When they visited the downtown area of Atlanta, she was impressed by the number of black professionals scurrying about. “There were black folks everywhere! As I sat in front of the impressive AT&T Building, I said ‘I’m going to work here one day and eventually I did!”

“One of my most enjoyable experiences about attending Clark Atlanta University was the number of nationally renowned professors who chose to work there and help shape our futures,” Jackson said. “I appreciated the opportunity to have attended both a majority and minority university. The social aspect was enjoyable when I could find the time to participate, but my program was so demanding that I had to stay focused. Being there was a lot of fun, though.” She was equally impressed with the number of corporate sponsors and employers who visited the campus to recruit future graduates. There were companies that we wouldn’t typically “have known of if we hadn’t been introduced to them at Clark Atlanta.” Companies like Home Depot, Chick Filet, AT&T were cited among them.

“One of the down sides about attending the HBCU, from my perspective was what appeared to be an ineffective financial aid process which was most challenging at times,” Carter-Jackson said. “There was favoritism and nepotism in the distribution of funds. Small groups and cliques were established all over the place and they often received financial aid priority. Groupwork in the MBA program is essential for academic success, but I encountered great difficulty connecting with established groups because they weren’t letting me in. I’d learned early in life to adapt and function outside of other people, so I gravitated to the class ahead of me and the class behind me, along with my professors, who willingly helped me excel in graduate school. Strangely, my own class would not help me though.”

“If there was one thing I would do differently with my HBCU experience, it would be to prepare better for the GMAT exam,” she said. “I could have received more financial support if I’d done that. I was fortunate enough to receive the Earl G. Graves Scholarship, though.”

Yanice enjoyed being away from Michigan and needed to “get away”. She felt it was time to “step out and develop interpersonally.” The change was good. It allowed her to “better adapt to situations and various people,” she said. “I wanted to become an AKA (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.) in the worst kind of way, but just didn’t have the time,” Jackson said. “That MBA program was very demanding. I haven’t given up hope, though. The next time the local chapter sponsors a tea and invites me, I’ll definitely be there!”

“My advice to anyone considering a historically black college is to research, research, research!” she added. “Try to have a support system in place when selecting a school. You need the support of family and friends. Find as many scholarship opportunities as possible before you go. To have your financial aid plan in place makes it so much easier. Know that your bill is paid up front.”

Jackson said attending Clark Atlanta University was “one of the best experiences of her life.” It helped “mold and shape her” in numerous ways. She said, “she learned solid business skills and practices.” Her mission is to “pour into the lives of others by teaching and sharing” all that she’s learned as a young professional who is “dedicated to a life of excellence.”

#BlackColleges #BlackHistoryMonth #ClarkAtlantaUniversity

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