Young, Educated, and Black: Advice from Emory’s 2017 Grads

By: Imani Brooks & Kira Tucker

For us, we are proud to be a Black student at Emory because our community is full of people with different ideas, beliefs, and purposes who are united by the love for their melanin and culture. The diversity among us is magical and allows us to lean on each other to complete a purposeful undergraduate experience at a predominantly white institution. Even though the Class of 2017 has left campus for better and bigger opportunities, a few graduates are graciously giving us their wise advice to help us make our own path at Emory. Everyone’s definition of success is different, but these interviews of Tamara Mason, Segun Adeagbo, Justin McCarroll, and Ivy Love Kilpatrick remind us that striving is not about the destination but about the journey. Find inspiration in their words for the upcoming school year and stay true to your identity, your culture, as you maneuver your way towards your diploma.



Name: Tamara Mason

Degree: B.A. in English

Current Plans: I am currently in Dallas, TX pursuing a masters of science in Education from Johns Hopkins School of Education while also participating as a resident in the Urban Teacher program. (Urban Teachers is a four-year alternative teacher certification program that gives its participants the experience and support needed in the classroom while also pursuing a Master's from Johns Hopkins.)

Organizations and Activities You Were Involved With: Member of the Omicron Xi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, President of the Association of Caribbean Educators and Students (ACES), Dance Captain/Liaison of ACES Dance, Program Intern for the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, Writing Tutor in the Emory Writing Center, Mentor Multicultural Outreach and Resources at Emory (MORE) Mentorship Program, Creative Director for Black Star Magazine

Something You Wish You Knew Before Starting as an Undergrad: Have ALL of the fun, BUT remember that your time as an undergrad will fly by in the blink of an eye; so, savor everything and take initiative in all aspects of your undergraduate career. It is never too late to be thinking about summer opportunities, senior year and postgraduate opportunities. This is your life and you have to take control.

An Inspirational Quote That Defined Your Undergrad Experience: “You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” –Paulo Coelho

One of the Biggest Lessons You’ve Learned at Emory: Black Lives Matter


Name: Segun Adeagbo

Degree: B.S. in Biology, B.A. in Philosophy

Current Plans: I’m a Clinical Research Coordinator at Emory’s Division of Pediatric Nephrology. I’m doing that for two years and then applying to medical school

Organizations and Activities You Were Involved With: I was involved in the Brotherhood of Afrocentric Men ’13, Trickanometry (TNT), and Orientation

Something You Wish You Knew Before Starting as an Undergrad: Before college, I wish I knew that making real friends would be easy and that I didn’t have to pretend during the first couple of weeks to make friends. For some people, like myself, it’s hard to be yourself at all times and you want to make friends as soon as possible. I wish I knew not to care too much and that, if I waited, I would create genuine, long-lasting friends. 

An Inspirational Quote That Defined Your Undergraduate Experience: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self” – Ernest Hemingway

One of the Biggest Lessons You’ve Learned At Emory: Something I learned was that if you come to college with expectations to accomplish certain things, you might not get to do everything or anything you originally planned to. That shouldn’t discourage you. You’re supposed to change and grow in college and, with that, your goals are likely to change. Sometimes you don’t get to change in the areas you really want to, but that could mean you need to put more work and time into it. There was this one moment junior year when I realized I didn’t accomplish any of the major things I set out to do yet and it brought me down for a while. I felt like I was stagnant the whole time and I feel like everyone has a similar moment when they feel like they aren’t where they want to be. However, I learned to accept that maybe the things I set for myself were not so easy that I could do them in four years. Some people need to work and struggle to accomplish things they want, but I know that it provides a greater satisfaction in the end.     


Name: Justin McCarroll

Degree: B.A. in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics

Current Plans: I’m currently employed as a case manager at Morgan and Morgan so I’ll be doing that for two years before going to law school.  I’m doing this primarily to build some solid credit and begin my investing journey that way I’ll be financially OK once I’m in law school.
Organizations and Activities You Were Involved With: Omega Psi Phi, NPHC, BAM, TNT, Res Life, Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy honors society.)
Something You Wish You Knew Before Starting as an Undergrad: I wish I knew the importance of things like internships and work experience relating to your future career.  My parents did not go to college so I spent my summers working odd jobs for spare change. Had I known better, I would have made those summers more meaningful. 
An Inspirational Quote That Defined Your Undergraduate Experience: The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”  (translated from Nietzsche)
One of the Biggest Lessons You’ve Learned At Emory: If you do what is expected of you and do so consistently, you will have set your self up for success in whatever it is you’re doing.  For example, doing the assigned readings. At least in humanities classes, the students who take the time to actually read what has been assigned to them will always outperform the rest of the class.  It boils down to who is willing to do the work and many of us seem to think we can get away with our high school tactics in college or later in life.



Name: Ivy Love Kilpatrick

Degree: B.A. in Dance and Movement Studies

Current Plans: After a Summer internship with Dance 411 Studios, my current plans include teaching dance, pursuing tv/film acting, and entrepreneurial work.

Organizations and Activities You Were Involved With: Chapter founder of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., Head Stepmistress of Ngambika 13, Co-founder and co-president of Adrenaline, Member of Vybez, Caribbean dance troupe, AHANA Dance, Emory Dance Company, Black Mental Health Ambassador, Part of the Mental Health Activist and Advocates Project (MAAP), Member of PUSH Mentor Group

Something You Wish You Knew Before Starting as an Undergrad: I wish I knew more about interdisciplinary work and concentrations at an earlier time. There is so much Emory has to offer that isn't always in the forefront, so asking questions and speaking with advisors would have been very beneficial during my first or second year.

An Inspirational Quote That Defined Your Undergrad Experience: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky

One of the Biggest Lessons You’ve Learned At Emory: One of the biggest lessons I learned is that passion equals power. The more we explore and discover where our passion lies, the more we will feel fulfilled as individuals and provide the most value to others throughout our time on this Earth. I entered Emory thinking I would study neuroscience and psychology. My journey in these past four years has been exciting, unique, and unpredictable because I allowed change to happen in my life. I gravitated toward what peaked my interest and made me happy. I took many classes outside of my major in fields such as Women Gender Studies, African American Studies, Philosophy, etc., and because that I am deeply satisfied with my time at Emory. In addition, I feel I got the most value from my experiences outside the classroom. I developed long lasting friendships and was heavily involved in organizations that resonated with me and helped me develop as a person. We never stop learning. We never stop growing.