A Grambling State University alum is challenging herself in the classroom while in her first semester of the doctorate program in Mass Communication at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Shea Drake is inspiring the youth while still following her dreams.
Drake is coming back to her roots, with her intended major in mass communications after an outstanding career in education.
She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Grambling as well as three master’s degrees in education leadership from Trevecca Nazarene, divinity from Howard University — where she was the second female SGA president in over a century — and media communications from Webster University.
A third year generation educator as well as being a licensed minister, Drake has not stopped yet. She has more than a decade of classroom experience and is originally from Nashville Tennessee, but not shy of traveling and working in Tennessee, Arkansas, Maryland and California.
Drake said one of the biggest reasons why she came to Grambling is the motto “Where everybody is somebody.”
“I am somebody and I am somebody of importance to myself. I should show up that way in every space I enter wherever I go. I try to own those spaces. The way these words stuck out to me meant a lot about who I am and who I would become. I've been nicknamed a wordsmith. Words have power.” Drake said. “Grambling is my first academic love. I went into each of my masters programs achieving what I was able to achieve because of my foundation at Grambling.”
Drake yearned for familiarity with her work and student life much like the one in her home in Nashville.
“Being from Nashville – which is where Tennessee State is – I wanted something similar like having the balance experience as if I did attend Tennessee State with classes, the football team, basketball team, track and the band etc.,’’ Drake said. “Because,I also got accepted to Dillard University in New Orleans which was not going to provide me the same things.”
At first she strongly avoided the course of educators in her family, trying physical therapy and nursing. However, neither of those majors had any holding power.
A professor later influenced her with powerful words and the impact she could make with education setting Drake on a path.
The majority of Drake's career as an educator consisted of teaching math to middle school students and algebra-1 for high school credit to 7-8th students. Not just well off with numbers but Drake also taught students reading, writing and grammar skills in English language arts.
She said despite becoming an educator mass communication was always on her mind.
“Mass communication never really changed on my transcripts, looking back it still said intended major mass communication. However, not until Webster summer session, which I loved and I felt at home in that space, and I knew then I was on the path I was supposed to be on. I hadn't had that feeling with any other area of study.” Drake said. “I always was doing media things such as speaking in church, commentating, band announcer…one English teacher told me I write how I talk but not in a negative way.”
Drake began her later journalism career as an intern with the Plaquemines Gazette and St. Bernard Voice in suburban New Orleans. Drake was later hired by the company owning those newspapers as a legal and public notice clerk, where she was allowed to also cover stories.
Drake's first job in journalism was at the Daily Review in Morgan City, La. in St. Mary Parish.
She said the training helped her well leading up to Ph.D. studies.
“Everyday now looks like reading and writing, whether reading books, articles or writing summary and essays,” Drake said. “It is challenging. There is a lot of reading and writing and then I teach media writing. I also working with the students at the student media center as a part of my graduate assistantship. I teach a class and then I work with undergraduates on their stories with the TV station and the newspaper and that's my task I'm working on balance.”
Drake said that one should follow their dreams because you do not have anything to lose.