We Are South - University of South Alabama

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James Craig

James Craig, Class of 2016

I am a first generation graduate student, and there was a time where I never thought I would say that. I minored in Sociology and every day I would hear how statistically I was supposed to fail. Whether it was because of my background, economic condition or even health issues, I thought I would never walk across that stage. I was wrong. Where I come from you always feel like you are on the bottom, but I always have had a passion for writing, but never did I think I was a talented writer. However after winning scholarship after scholarship and publishing numerous short stories and poems I realize that I can be great regardless of where or how I got started. South has been incredible for me. I've learned so much and the staff and faculty have been there for me during some turbulent times. Now, I am no longer that shy kid with low self-esteem from the wrong side of the tracks, but I am strong, confident leader who feels he can rule the world. I am now in the grad program, a tutor, and president of the English Honor Society. Thank you South for showing me the way!

Nichelle Smith, Class of 2016

Growing up, I dreamed of becoming an obstetrician. I can remember watching TLC as a young child and being deeply fascinated with the many medical shows. Upon graduating from McGill-Toolen in 2012, I thought I wanted to become a doctor or nurse. It wasn’t until my early adulthood that I realized a career in the medical field was not an option. After all, passing out at the sight of blood is not a quality any doctor should possess. After realizing what I thought was my dream job could never become a reality, I struggled my freshman year of college to find my purpose.

My adviser initially introduced me to the department of communication. Before then, majoring in communication never crossed my mind. Taking her advice, I registered for my first communication class and I was hooked. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed writing and being creative. I can credit my internship with USA College of Medicine/USA Physicians Group for further solidifying my passion for the field. My internship introduced me to the combination of healthcare and communication, which I believe to be a perfect blend. Overall, the University of South Alabama provided me with the resources that helped me discover my purpose in life. And now that I know exactly what I love to do, there is no stopping me!

Karyn Tunks, Class of 1981, 1983

I moved from Oklahoma to Mobile to attend South Alabama as an undergraduate in the summer of 1979, just in time for Hurricane Frederic. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Early Childhood Education, taught in Mobile County Schools and then went on to get a Ph.D. from Florida State University. After teaching in the University of Texas system and the University of New Orleans, good fortune brought me back to South 20 years later and I am now a Professor in the College of Education. The campus has changed dramatically over the years but the spirit of South Alabama and the commitment to students remains. I consider myself blessed to teach at my Alma Mater where I continue to make wonderful memories and friends.

Ethan Hamilton, Class of 2015

South Alabama gave me the opportunity to be myself and experience something most people don't get to say they've done. I was the first South student to study abroad in Cuba! I was in Cuba when the Cuban embassy was first opened in the United States in June 2015.

Sid King, Class of 2012

I am a dynamic and rapidly emerging professional in the field of environmental sciences. After graduating from South Alabama, I worked as a technician for Allen Engineering and Science and as a consultant at NASA DEVELOP, and I am currently nearing completion of an M.S. in meteorology at FSU, where I teach Introductory Meteorology labs, train at the National Weather Service, and lead an organization committed to science outreach.

My immersion in the culture at USA afforded me a unique opportunity to develop into a leader and a professional. I completed a thesis before my graduation regarding the atmospheric loading, transfer, and fate of atmospheric benzene from the Deepwater Horizon spill. I was the President of the USA Honors Program Organization and tirelessly worked to build the organization up for sustainable success for the future. I organized and executed massive service projects therein, such as Ghouls for Good, which collected well over a ton of food on Halloween 2011. I was an inaugural member of the Jaguar Marching Band, and was one of the first ever section leaders for the baritone/euphonium line, which I coached for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

Carol Ellis, Class of 2012

I owe everything to South. It has given me the perfect job. As director of the University's archives, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, I have been given the opportunity to hold the past in my hands and protect it for future generations.

With well over 1 million negatives, slides and prints, and several hundred manuscript collections — one valued at $3.1 million and appraised as one of the most important collections of materials in existence — The McCall Library has grown to be one of the most important archives in this area. And I have been given the responsibility of caring for its collections.

Our collections have been used for many purposes — to grace homes and office buildings, businesses, and organizations. They have been used in Hong Kong, Europe, Australia, and throughout the United States. They have helped authors and documentary makers and given simple pleasures to the general public.

I owe South everything. I hope I can pay the university back by passing on to others memories and reflections of the past.

Christian Smith, Class of 2011

South is where I found my voice as a leader and further developed my love of politics and causes dear to me. With the skills that Alpha Gamma Delta and the Student Government Association had equipped me with, I ran for office at 25, became president of the Alabama Federation of Democratic Women at 27, and helped start the Bay Area Young Democrats Chapter of Alabama Young Democrats at 29. Like South, I am young and growing and can't wait to see what 30 brings.