Students Talk
Students talking to students about life as a student.

In recent days, the senseless, brutal killing of George Floyd and its ripple effects have placed the issues of racial inequality and injustice under an intense spotlight across the state, the nation, and around the world. To promote campus-wide dialogue, Southern is hosting a virtual panel discussion with Southern faculty, students and community members. Please join us.

Wednesday, June 17 (12 – 1:30 p.m.)

A community online forum streaming live on Southern’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthernCT/

A community online forum moderated by Jonathan L. Wharton, associate professor of political science and urban affairs, Southern Connecticut State University.

This event is open to the public, and a Facebook account is not required to attend.

Submit questions for the panelists here.

Panelists:

Shanté Hanks, ’97, M.S. ’99, 6th Yr. ’05, is the deputy commissioner of the State of Connecticut Department of Housing, with professional experience spanning government affairs, public policy, affordable housing development and education. She holds two Southern degrees and an advanced certificate.

Solomon James, ’22, a rising junior at Southern, is a community activist and the co-organizer of a recent racial justice march held in Danbury, Conn., in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Julian Madison is an associate professor of history at Southern with a scholarly focus on race and ethnicity, civil rights, culture and the Jazz Age. His books and manuscripts cover a wide range of topics, including desegregation of sports and the fight to end school segregation.

Cassi Meyerhoffer is an associate professor of sociology at Southern. Her research and teaching interests focus on systemic racism, racial residential segregation, and the role of race in American policing. She is working on a book proposal: From the Old Jim Crow to the New: Tracing the Roots of Reconstruction to Residential Segregation, Police Brutality, and the Mass Incarceration of Black Bodies.

Orisha Ala Nzambi Ochumare is one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter New Haven. She is an anti-racism organizer and has done work with youth in local schools. She is currently the LGBTQ+ youth program officer at the New Haven Pride Center.

Timothy Parrish is a professor of English at Southern, an award-winning writer, and one of the architects of the university’s MFA program. He is the author of three books, including Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist, a Memoir (U Press of Mississippi).

 

Men's Basketball Captain, 2017-18

Now in his third season with the Owls, Isaiah McLeod is more formidable on the basketball court than ever.

Last night, Mcleod broke 1,000 total career points, hitting an important university milestone against crosstown rival UNH.  As a junior, McLeod is a team captain and dedicated student-athlete, but here’s some more things you might not know about him….

Hometown: Cambridge, MA
Degree status: Junior currently majoring in sociology with a focus in criminal justice
Position: Guard

Why did you choose Southern?

I felt really comfortable as soon as I came on campus. I got to sit in and watch a college practice and it really drew my attention. The basketball program was a real family and I wanted to be a part of something like that because it is special. The coach showed that he really cared for me and wanted me to be a part of this program so it was hard for me to turn it down.

You have some very impressive stats. To what do you attribute your success?

I owe my stats to my mother and father constantly pushing me to be the best student-athlete I could be. Then I owe my success to my trainer for spending so much time with me, helping me to get better and really learn the game at a higher level. Also, I really want to just get better and be the best basketball player I can be. I stay humble and hungry so I can perform on the court.

What are your expectations this season?

I want to uphold the legacy our alumni have created. I want this program to keep getting the national attention it was getting. I love winning so I want to win a lot of games. I want my teammates and me to have a fun, successful season.

What are your long-term goals?

My dream is to win an NE-10 championship, a regional championship, and a national championship. These goals are easier said than accomplished. But I truly believe that with the talent we have on our team, if we constantly work hard and stay together, we could possibly make a huge run for those championships. I would also like to possibly play professional basketball overseas and then, later on, go back home to Cambridge. I could become a police officer to really help the kids in the community accomplish their goals.

What have been the major highlights in your career thus far?

Being able to make the NCAA tournament 2 years in a row is a major highlight for me because that is very hard to accomplish. Also, being named a captain of the basketball team is a huge highlight for me. It lets me know that coach believes in me and trusts me to be a leader for this team.

Describe yourself in three words:

  1. Humble
  2. Determined
  3. Shy

What do you enjoy most about the athletics program here at Southern?

It is like a huge family! Every sports team supports and wishes the best for the others and that is amazing. It shows that the athletes all care about each other’s success.

What is one of the best connections you have made here at Southern?

All the connections I’ve made at Southern have been great, from the equipment staff to the professors. I am grateful to have met every single one of them.

If she had to do it all over again, she’d wouldn’t change a thing.

Lushka Vazquez is graduating with her second degree from Southern this May.

As a graduate student in Southern’s exercise science program with a focus in human performance, Lushka is determined and driven by nature and by trade. She loves to challenge herself and has high professional aspirations.

When asked why she chose Southern, Lushka pointed to the location of the university, the cost of attendance, and our well-known exercise science program as key factors. She also appreciates the opportunity to continue growing in her field as a graduate student.

“Based on the professor’s experience and knowledge, I love it here,” says Lushka. She explains that each professor in the Department of Exercise Science holds a doctorate, and they each bring their diverse backgrounds and expertise to the classroom.

“I enjoy Southern’s atmosphere and having the same professors for the graduate program also helped my transition [from undergraduate to graduate] go smoothly,” she explains. In addition, she believes that the opportunity to pursue a graduate internship at Southern stood out from other universities.

Lushka works 35 hours per week as the graduate intern in the SCSU Fitness Center. She is also a personal trainer and helps coordinate events within the facility, which gives her the opportunity to build her resume while earning her degree.

And now Lushka is thinking about pursuing her own doctorate in Physical Therapy.

If you want to know how she does it or learn more first-hand about Southern’s graduate program in Exercise Science, you know where to find her!