Student Spotlight

Meet Our Majors and Minors

Defining Their Future, Today

"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive." - Audre Lorde 

There is a plethora of opportunities for LLP majors and minors to define themselves and their futures within the department. In today's fluid workforce, English majors are finding that their writing and analytical skills will translate into a multitude of career opportunities that include education, law, politics, journalism, public relations, advertising, publishing, and professional and technical writing. Periodically, we will highlight stellar LLP students who have found creative ways to achieve their academic and professional goals.  

LLP Majors/Minors interested in being featured should complete the Spotlight submission form by clicking here: Student Spotlight Submission Form.

Meet Eleana Stone!

Eleana Stone

Eleana Stone

Anticipated Graduation: Decemeber 2024

Major: BA English

Why I chose to be an English Major: "I have loved reading and writing since I was in middle school. English was always the subject to which I gravitated."

Career Goal: To become a teacher

Eleana Stone is an English major and a senior at Tennessee State. She aspires to work in the education field after graduation. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree, she wishes to attend grad school at Tennessee State University as well. Stone is grateful to have this opportunity to intern in the department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy. She hopes to make great connections and toenjoy learning experiences and opportunities with the department. Stone wants to grow as an individual throughout her academic and professional journey.


Meet Raquel Ziebart!

Ziebart Photo

Raquel Ziebart

Anticipated Graduation 2023

Major: BA English

Why I chose to be an English Major: "I decided to be an English major initially due to my desire of becoming a writer and an English as a second language teacher. After attending Tennessee State, I discovered that I have an immense passion for linguistics and literature."

Career Goal: "My ultimate goal would be to move to as many Spanish speaking countries and be of assistance to people trying to learn English and Spanish."

Raquel Ziebart is a proud Senior at Tennessee State. Ziebart pursued her Bachelors degree while being a single mother who works full time.  She hopes her educational journey will be an inspiration to her son and the children that she will teach one day.  Ziebart is a member of the National Honors Society and the Sigma Tau Delta Honors English organization.  She enjoys playing soccer with her son, writing creatively and academically, cooking, dancing and reggaeton musiquita.  “I believe that education is not only a gift, but a fundamental right that all humans deserve to receive freely.”

Clayton Oglesby Clayton Oglesby

Graduation May 2023

Major: Mass Communication

Double minor: Spanish and Africana Studies

# Goals:  I want to be a writer and content creator

LLP Spanish Tutor:  I'm very excited to be tutoring in Spanish this year. I've been learning Spanish since I was 12 and I recently studied abroad in Spain.

Oglesby is a creative writer from Nashville, who enjoys reading, filmmaking, and creating Tik Tok content. He is shopping graduate schools while tutoring LLP Spanish students.  “Learning languages is something I love to do because it helps me better connect to the world around me. I want to travel to more Spanish speaking countries in the future!”  Oglesby is a member of the following organizations: Alpha Phi Omega, Men's Initiative, Debate Team, and Honors College.

Meet David Ozuna

David Ozuna English Major

David Ozuna

Graduation May 2023

Major: English with a Concentration in Creative Writing

Why I chose to be an English Major: "Reading books and writing stories is a quality that's been a hobby that I want to make into a career. I believe storytelling is the art and creativity of the imagination."

Professional Service: Fall 2022 Nashville Southern Festival of Books Intern

Ozuna was born and raised from the “Sunshine State” of South Miami Florida. He is third generation Cuban-American aspiring to be the first in my family to succeed a higher education. He served honorably in the United States Air Force and as a Veteran, and he wants to continue serving the country through the hard work and effort it takes to become a Literature Professor and Novelist.

Meet Bryanna Scott

Bryanna Scott Inductee Photo

Bryanna Scott

Graduation May 2022

Major: English & Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in Africana Studies and History

Why I chose to be an English Major: "It greatly helps in my future pursuits to be an author/poet."

Memberships and Service: Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, Pep Club, Golden Keys, Honors College, NAACP

Bryanna Scott is a graduating senior at Tennessee State University.  Scott is a member of the University’s Honors College as well as several other student organizations. A distinguished speaker, writer, and overall scholar, Scott runs her own Resin business, assists in organizing racial awareness events back in her home state New Jersey, and works with Villages in Partnership, a non-profit that does missionary work in Africa.  She enjoys writing, signging, dancing, traveling and painting. 

Meet Dr. Deborah Burris-Kitchen

Kitchen Profile Pic

Dr. Deborah Burris-Kitchen

Anticipated Graduation 2024

Major: BA English and a Minor in Spanish

Why I chose to be an English Major: "I love reading and writing literature and poetry"

Career Goal: "I have already achieved my professional goal of being a college professor, but can always learn more."

Memberships and Service: Dr. Burris-Kitchen has served as the chair of the research committee and as the Vice President of the National Organization of Short Statured Adults (NOSSA).  She has also served as President for (Association of Humanist Sociology) AHS and was a member of AHS for many years.  She has also been a member of the American Society of Criminology, and the American Sociological Association.

Deborah J. Burris-Kitchen, Ph.D. is a Professor of Criminology and Department Chair at Tennessee State University in Nashville.  She is the author of Female Gang Participation (Edwin Mellen Press, 1997). She also co-authored an article on racism in higher education in the College Student Journal (2000). Her publications also include a book titled Short Rage: an autobiographical look at heightism in America (2002). She also has a book chapter (July 2010) titled Pathways to prison: Implications for the Health and Mental health in the African American Community in Handbook for African American Health Psychology: Evidence-based treatment and prevention practices (edited by Robert Hampton & Ray Crowell); From Slavery to Prisons: A Historical Delineation of the Criminalization of African Americans (2010); a journal article titled Short Rage Revisited (2018); and Deviance and Control, Kendall and Hunt (2020) and a second Edition of Deviance and Control was released by Kendall and Hunt in 2021.  Dr. Burris-Kitchen is also an activist who fights against violence, racism, exploitation, greed, and capitalism. Check out her most recent publication on the I Want to Write Publications Page.

Meet DeAnthony Reed!

student profile DeAnthony Reed

DeAnthony Reed

Anticipated Graduation 2022

Major: English

Why I chose to be an LLP Minor: I decided to become an English major because of my love for literature and writing.

Career Goal I plan to be a Medical Editor/Writer in the Oncology field, preferably for Sarah Cannon Cancer Research Institute, and I would also like work as a Grant Writer for non-profit organizations.

DeAnthony Reed is a bright, self-motivated twenty-nine year old student who is determined to become a first-generation graduate in my family. He was born and raised in East Nashville and attended East Literature Magnet High school, where he developed my love for reading and writing. He loves helping others, especially within my community. His hobbies include photography, hiking, reading, binge watching shows, traveling, and blogging.  He was recently accepted into the MUSE Scholar program at Michigan State University for prospective graduate students. Although he has experienced many challenges in his professional pursuits, he likens hmself to Dory, the fish said in Finding Nemo, "I Just Keep Swimming, I can not stop."

Meet WaTeasa Freeman!

WaTeasa Freeman

Anticipated Graduation 2021

Major/Minor: Mass Communications Major/ Double Minor in English and Africana Studies 

Why I chose to be an LLP Minor:  I have always had a passion and skill for writing.  I like telling stories through my words and giving others new way of viewing themselves.

Organizations:  Links inc.

Career Goal Short term goals include working in the media industry and leaving an impact on those to come after me.  Long term goals include owning a news network aimed to help the growth of African Americans.

WaTeasa Freeman is a Junior at Tennessee State University. She majors in Mass Communications with a double minor in Africana studies and English. Freeman is 20 years old and from Columbus, Ohio. She has been writing poetry since 2011 and considers it a passion of hers. She has been published in two books and two albums. When she is not writing she enjoys crochet, painting, makeup and singing. "I am a firm believer in making every moment count no matter how small."

Meet Olivia Bohanon!

Olivia Bohanon

Olivia Bohanon

Anticipated Graduation 2020

Major: English  Minor: Africana Studies

Why I chose to be an LLP Major: I have always enjoyed reading and writing. This is a passion of mine and I feel as though I am comfortable enough to do this for my entire life. This is why i dedicated my entire life to my craft.

Organizations:  Vice President of The National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Incorporated; Women of Empowerment: The Frankie J. Pierce Federated Chapter (NACWC):  Community Service Chair for The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP); Student Government Association; Student Election Commission (SGA; SEC). 

Career Goal: I plan to teach children from lower income families and improve literacy rates. I want to one day open a school that caters to African American families that reside in poverty stricken areas. I want to come up with a curriculum that better fits the learning styles of children living in these areas.

I am the second child of five and the first child of the bunch to attend college. I was always a sickly child, however I look at it as a blessing. Having sickle cell has made me develop a love for writing that I never had before.It also encouraged me to develop a foundation that is used to raise money for a cure. My love for teaching developed when I began to volunteer in my mother's classroom. The literacy scores were always the lowest and I did not understand why it wasn't pushed as hard as it could have been. I want to dedicate my life to teaching under privileged kids. I will create an entire curriculum that will cater and support their learning styles. Literacy is so important and it saddens me that African American children are struggling to grasp it.

Meet Tarrolyn Barras!


Tarrolyn Barras

Anticipated Graduation 2019

Major: English  

Why I chose to be an LLP Major:  I have always loved writing. When I was a little girl I was inspired by every story I read to create worlds that others could lose themselves into. I wanted to further my education by studying writers, the techniques they use, and the lives they lived.

Organizations: Otaku Anonymous XII; April 4th Foundation; Sigma Tau Delta (will be inducted on April 20th)

Career Goal: I want to become a professional novelist.

I’m a twenty-one dreamer from the Memphis side of the Mississippi’s banks. I grew up in a single parent household with the best mom in the world who’s always made my success her primary goal from the day I was born. She encouraged me to read and started me on the path of my following my dreams. Even now, she’s always looking out for me and doing her best to get me to the point I want to be in life.

Meet Pragati Natraj!


Pragati Natraj

Anticipated Graduation May 2019

Major: Psychology  

Minor: Philosophy

Career Goal: Sports Psychologist

Why I chose to be an LLP Minor:  I decided to be a Philosophy minor because I thought it would be a great subject to study as the roots of Psychology are from Philosophy. I also wanted to do Philosophy because it helps a lot in critical thinking, which is necessary for a good career in the future and to be a successful individual.

Pragati Natraj hails from Bangalore, India.  She has had numerous successes during her academic and professional pursuits.  She maintained a 4.0 GPA in her freshman and sophomore years, was selected for the President's Roll of Honor, and represented TSU in Women's Tennis, ranking second and third position in the Spring 2016 season.  In the 2015-2016 season, she helped TSU achieve a historic, Team Championship at the HBCU Invitational, and secured another historic win at the OVC conference.  Prior to enrolling at TSU, Natraj was selected by the State Tennis Association in India to participate in a two-month, Advanced Tennis Program at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, Spain. Her hobbies include listening to music, traveling, reading articles or watching videos of different types of food and restaurants across the world. She has proven to be a shining star at TSU, and a vivid reflection of mission and motivation of LLP. 

Meet Alphonzo Bradford!


Alphonzo Bradford

Anticipated Graduation 2018

Major: English  

Why I chose to be an LLP Minor:  I decided to be an English major because I love writing. I love the challenge that English brings forth. I also enjoy conjuring up arguments that I have to support. English has always been my favorite subject, and I feel that once you understand the fundamentals of English, you become unstoppable.

Career Goal:  I aspire to teach secondary school. I plan on teaching, and then applying to become a principal, and then hopefully working with the Board of Education.

Bradford is one of five children. He grew up on the East side of Nashville, and he is the only boy of four sisters. He attended Maplewood High School and graduated in 2010. He married his wife, with whom he graduated high school, and they now have two children. "I love my Alma Mater because its a stepping stone for so many people, and it has a huge impact on our culture." He free time is spent with family, friends and reading. 

Meet Chelsea Cash!

Chelsea Cash

Chelsea Cash  

Junior (Anticipated Graduation 2017)

English Major

Africana Studies Minor

Why I chose to be an English Major: English has always been a major strength throughout my early childhood learning. I always had my nose in a book which made English a huge interest.

My goal is to be the best English teacher I can be in order to equip the younger generation with the proper knowledge for college. I plan on joining the Teach For America program to obtain my certification, where I will be able to reach out to children in need of a great educator.  I will reason with them as well as help them learn in the best way they can. I believe English majors are the main face of the work force. We will educate each newcomer in their expertise. Without an educator, the next generation will not know the amount of knowledge that is out there or what they can do with it.

Meet James Cooke!

James Cooke

James Cooke

Anticipated Graduation 2017

Major: English  

Why I chose to be an LLP Minor:  I spent most of my undergraduate years wandering aimlessly, until I entered my first Literature class and everything clicked. When I found out that writers for fantasy games are essentially required to have an English degree, I found my direction. I wasn’t too confident about the importance of the subject until I got elbow-deep into literary history and comparative religions. Now, all I want to do is write and read and explore this very magical world we live in.

Career Goal: I’d like to create my own tabletop system while breaking the mold of traditional tabletop fantasy structures. I think it’s important to remind people that fantasy is about “what could be” instead of “elves, dwarves, Medieval Europe, trope, trope, trope.” If that’s out of reach, being paid to write wouldn’t be a bad 2nd place.

James Cooke hails from Nashville, Tennessee, and he likes writing for fantasy games and titles. He is a full-time student with three part-time jobs. He currently works for Legendary Games as a designer for their Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition products. His main duties are system conversions and proofreading, with some design offerings. He also works for the Writing Center at TSU as a tutor, where he helps students write papers and understand critical approaches. Additionally, he works part-time as a package handler at FedEx Ground. He plays tabletop roleplaying games about three times as much as anyone reasonably should, he says. "It’s a brave new world of literary expression and it’s a crying shame that TRPGs get looped in with video games in academia."

Meet Kamri Jordan!

Kamri Jordan 

Senior (Anticipated Graduation 2017)

English Major 

Why I chose to be an English Major:  When I started college I was set on going to law school, so I doubled majored in Political Science and English. However, with each English class I took I fell in love with my English major. As a result, I decided to dedicate all of my time to this major!

Kamri Jordan is currently an undergraduate student at Tennessee State University pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in English. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Kamri credits her family as having a profound influence on her life. An avid writer, she had her first short story published at the age of nine. In the Fall of 2015 Kamri served as a Campus Correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference where it was her task to write articles pertaining to the history and traditions of TSU Athletics. Kamri hopes to one day be a professor of English Literature.

Meet Candace-Omnira LaFayette!


Candace-Omnira LaFayette

Senior (Anticipated Graduation 2017)

English Major 

Why I chose to be an English Major:  Originally, I decided to take up English as a major because I couldn't be a Theater Education major. But I have discovered I can do virtually anything with an English degree.

Candace-Omnira LaFayette was born in Nashville but raised in Columbia,TN. Her first career goal in life was to be a landscape artist, which changed to a detective, which later became an author and a track star (she hates working out).  Her calling was solidified when she discovered the power of being on stage. She found a way to become everything she wanted to be. She's an individual and choose each day, even off the stage, to be whoever she wants. She is an actor and work for SistaStyle Productions in the Dark Horse Theatre.  Her advice to her contemporaries: Be Golden.