Alumni and Scholar Spotlights
Luckyday Scholar Selected for Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship
Arielle Hudson has been named the University of Mississippi’s 27th Rhodes Scholar and is the university’s first African American woman to be selected for the scholarship program.
MarKeicha Dickens, 2015 Luckyday Graduate
MarKeicha Dickens currently serves as a Career Counselor at the University of Northern Colorado in the Career Service Center. She actively works to assist students with career planning and development while helping them evaluate their skills, strengths and abilities. She also encourages students to be confident in themselves and in their ability to be successful while helping them work through and overcome personal and academic challenges. An Olive Branch, MS native, MarKeicha earned a BA in Journalism and MA in Higher Education both from the University of Mississippi. She credits Luckyday with equipping her with the tools needed to be successful as an undergraduate student and allowing her to make her educational goals a reality.
Words of Wisdom to Luckyday Scholars: “Luckyday provided an opportunity for me to engage with other students from various backgrounds as a freshman in college. The mentorship program, community service projects, and the mandatory study hall hours helped shape me into the responsible scholar I am today. Please get involved on campus and get to know the people around you! The relationships you will develop in college can be fruitful and lifelong. I know firsthand how intimidating it can be to ask for help, but assuming will get you nowhere. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions! Remember, fear is something that has the potential to stifle your growth as a person in college. Don’t let it win! The sense of community the Luckyday program provides is like no other, and I urge you to take advantage of the many opportunities that will be afforded to you as you matriculate at the University of Mississippi. Get out of your room and go for it!”
Alex McClarty, 2010 Luckyday Graduate
Alex McClarty is the Founder/Engineer of Sage Robotics Company, a manufacturing startup located in Byhalia, Mississippi. The company produces robot kits and offers a number of inexpensive hardware solutions to schools and organizations, with a focus of exposing users to engineering principals and the greater world of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). Alex is also active in the local Byhalia community and serves on the executive boards of the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce and Northeast Mississippi Health Care, Inc. Alex and his wife Stephanie currently reside in Olive Branch.
Words of Wisdom to Luckyday Scholars: “It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of being away from home and meeting new people when starting college. Fortunately, The Luckyday Success Program was there to facilitate this transition. During my freshmen year, I realized one way to cope with this experience was to set both academic and social goals for myself. Through the Luckyday programing, I was able to realize these goals and develop a number of lasting relationships with other Luckyday scholars.”
Rayelle Jiles, 2010 Luckyday Graduate
Rayelle Jiles is a Registered Nurse employed at Atlanta Cancer Care as a Clinical Informatics Specialist, and in the medical intensive care unit at Emory University Hospital. She is responsible for supporting the planning, development, implementation, and ongoing monitoring and modification of computerized health systems. She also provides and evaluates patient care where high-intensity treatment and supervision is required to enhance positive patient outcomes. Rayelle acquired her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama.
Words of Wisdom to Luckyday Scholars: “The Luckyday program enabled a smooth transition from high school to college, provided mentors, and fostered positive study habits that followed me through obtaining my master’s degree. Take advantage of this opportunity by utilizing your resources and strong support system. Establish lifelong relationships that you will take with you along your journey. Stay focused and never give up!”
Martin Fisher, 2011 Luckyday Graduate
Martin Fisher serves as Assistant Director of Admissions for Orientation & Campus Visit Programs at The University of Mississippi. “I have the privilege of directing the new student orientation programs and overseeing on-campus recruitment events for the University of Mississippi. This role provides me the opportunity to recruit future Rebels, assist new students in transitioning to life at Ole Miss, and mentor and train current student leaders. Luckyday’s financial support helped make my college education a reality. The mentorship and academic support provided by the Luckyday staff played a major role in my transition from high school to college and was integral in my success during my undergraduate years at Ole Miss.
Words of Wisdom to Luckyday Scholars: “Take advantage of all the resources and experiences the University of Mississippi has to offer. That often means stepping out of your comfort zone. I encounter many students who are simply afraid to ask for help. Some feel like they are the only ones struggling with a particular issue or are just too shy to ask. I strongly encourage students to ask for help early and often; don’t wait until it is too late. Also, find ways to connect to campus. Joining student organizations or finding other ways to engage in student life outside the classroom can really enhance your experience.”
Gloria Howell, 2011 Luckyday Graduate
Gloria L. Howell is currently pursuing a PhD in higher education student affairs at Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, Indiana. Her research interests include Black student identity development, college readiness for marginalized populations, culturally relevant curriculum, cultural arts education, and Black feminism. She works as an associate instructor in the School of Education and teaches a course entitled “Foundations for Undergraduate Student Success at a Research University” for freshmen Hudson & Holland scholars, a college access and success program at IU. Gloria also serves as program coordinator for the Balfour Pre-College Academy, a program that allows rising high school seniors to ‘test-drive’ college and become equipped with the tools they need to make informed decisions regarding higher education. Gloria is extremely involved in various extracurricular activities including the Graduate Emissaries for Diversity program housed in the IU Graduate School and the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) where she served as president during the 2014-2015 academic year. In March 2016, Gloria received the Graduate Student Award for the Multicultural Affairs division of the Association of College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) for her work with the Balfour Scholars Program and the BGSA. Gloria also takes pride in giving back to the community. She serves as co-coordinator of the Homework Help program at Bethel AME Church in Bloomington. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Kappa Tau Omega chapter, where she co-chairs a signature program designed to prepare high school students for college and career success.
Words of Wisdom to Luckyday Scholars: “Put first things first, and take care of business in the classroom. Establish your scholarly identity and find your niche in your major and even outside of your major. You are encountering some courses that challenge you and may even frustrate you to your wit’s end at times. But, remember that you owe it to yourself as well as your support system and those who invest in you such as the Luckyday staff to put your best foot forward and excel. Also, take advantage of resources! Don’t let you simply not knowing, or not showing up, be the reason that you miss out on opportunities. The Luckyday program always kept us abreast of academic and social opportunities that definitely enhanced my college experience. I was able to meet some stellar people who simply looked out for me and opened doors that would have otherwise remained closed had I not gotten to know them. Network, network, network! Go for what you want, and don’t settle for less than you deserve.”
Jodie Nicole Chavez, 2014 Luckyday Graduate
Jodie Chavez works for the Republican National Committee (RNC) where she is employed as a Regional Political Coordinator for the Western United States. As a coordinator, she is a liaison between State Parties and the RNC headquarters. She is gaining experience with political campaigns ranging from the state to national level. Jodie works hand in glove with her Regional Political Directors to ensure the success of State Parties, grassroot campaign operations, and a strong expansion of the Republican Party. She also gained experience serving as support staff at Presidential Caucuses and Republican State Conventions. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Words of Wisdom to Luckyday Scholars: “Look at every job, no matter how big or small, as an opportunity. As a prestigious scholar you already have a dream opportunity. Make the most of it! Get to know the people around you. You never know what you may have in common, relationships that can develop, and potential opportunities that could result just by being respectful and diligent. The RNC has allowed me to meet a vast network of people across the nation from all backgrounds. In turn this helps me to be better at my position as a political operative and to relay what I’ve learned as a mentor. It is so important to give back to not only those who have helped you but to teach others what you have learned along the way.”
Mallorie (Magee) Rasberry, 2008 Luckyday Graduate
Mallorie Rasberry, CPA works for Rasberry Producers Group, LLC in Laurel, Mississippi. Mallorie is Commission and Office Coordinator for Rasberry and is also very active in the local community. Mallorie has served as President of the Board for the Laurel Main Street organization and is active in the Economic Development Authority of Jones County, the Laurel Arts League and her church, First United Methodist of Laurel. Mallorie is married to Jim Rasberry and they have a little girl named Lucy.
Words of Wisdom to Luckyday Scholars: “Coming from a VERY small high school and not knowing anyone in Oxford when arriving, the first semester for me was very difficult and for the first time in my life, my grades were less than stellar. I realized very quickly that I didn’t know how to study and my high school experience had left me feeling extremely unprepared for college! After my first semester I was actually put on “probation” with Luckyday and through mandatory study and the accountability that LD provided, I was able to have a 4.0 my spring semester and graduate with honors.”
Tim Abram, 2014 Luckyday Graduate
Tim graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2014. After leaving Ole Miss, Tim joined Teach for America and taught United States History at West Tallahatchie High School. In addition to teaching, Tim was the assistant head coach for the boy’s varsity basketball team. The team went 34-0 in the 2016 season and captured the 2A Mississippi State Championship. At the end of his tenure as a teacher, Tim was accepted into the Teach for America Capitol Hill Fellows program, which placed him in the office of Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) as an education policy fellow. At the end of his fellowship, Tim will begin graduate school at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.