HL 037: Transitioning from High School to College with Dr. Vera Triplett

August 21, 2016

It’s that time of year — back to school! For incoming college freshmen, however, this is a completely new chapter. Episode 37 of the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast focuses on that special group of students who have chosen HBCUs as their landing spots for higher education. To give us some perspective on how students and parents — especially those from under-resourced communities — deal with this major step, the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast invited an education leader to be our guest.

About today’s guest

Dr. Vera Triplett is the founder and CEO of Noble Minds Institute for Whole Child Learning. Having begun her career as a middle and high school English teacher, she is a former Deputy Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District and had also served as the COO and CEO of a New Orleans charter school management organization. Dr. Triplett has worked at a cross section of education, mental health, and juvenile justice for over 20 years. She serves on numerous boards including the Greater New Orleans Foundation Board, the Parkway Partners Board, the Junior Achievement Board, the International High School Board, and the Operation Spark Board where she serves as chair. Dr. Triplett also serves as a mentor for the Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation.

Dr. Triplett earned her undergraduate degree in English Education from Southern University at New Orleans. She later earned her master’s degree in School/Community Counseling and Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of New Orleans.

Connect with Dr. Vera Triplett on Twitter.

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HL 036: Point and Drive - Brandi Mitchell Brings HBCU Band Documentary to Life

August 14, 2016

The HBCU Lifestyle Podcast was pleased to feature a conversation about the documentary Point and Drive. Based on the rise of the Florida A&M University “Marching 100,” the movie features the renowned band’s alumni plus alumni of other HBCU band programs. Most importantly, the documentary focuses on how FAMU’s band and others turned talented college students into leaders while influencing college marching band programs across the country.

In addition to live performances and rare footage of the “Marching 100,” the film features entertaining interviews. “Point and Drive” features notable figures such as Grammy Award winning artists Scotty Barnhart, Wycliffe Gordon, Vincent Gardner as well as neo-soul artist Dwele.

The documentary’s energetic creator and director Brandi Mitchell joins the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast to talk about the road to making “Point and Drive” a reality. The former member of FAMU’s “Marching 100” talks about her experience under the legendary Dr. William P. Foster. She also shares what it was like creating the film and its rave reviews from viewers.

For upcoming screenings visit the Koris Publishing Eventbrite page.

About today’s guest

Brandi Mitchell is the owner of Koris Publishing, a multi-faceted publishing and media company which helps to monetize the messages, intellectual property, and personas of great brands to its audience through producing high caliber products in print, television, film, and digital media. She has the privilege of working with talents such as Steve Harvey, Anthony Mackie, Ruby Dee, Eric Benet, Chrisette Michelle Hector Elizondo, and Eminem; as well as TV Networks including TLC, BET, MTV, TBS, and TV ONE.

Thank you for listening

  • Subscribe: Get the latest episodes of the podcast on iTunes or via our RSS feed from Podbean.com. If you enjoyed this episode, go to iTunes and give us a positive rating and review. It helps this show greatly.
  • Comment: Do you have feedback on this episode or the show in general? Leave us a note at the bottom of the page.
  • Share: If you think this episode is worth sharing, please use the social media buttons on the page to post to Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Episode Sponsor

  • This podcast is brought to you by the Podbean Podcast App. The Podbean Podcast App is the best app for mobile podcast publishing. You can record and publish podcasts right from your phone…great for educational purposes and sharing your message on-the-go. Get the Podbean Podcast App now on the App Store or Google Play, it’s free.

HL 035: Legendary Visual Artist Synthia Saint James

July 25, 2016
Renowned visual artist Synthia Saint James poses holding a brush with paint in front of her iconic paintings.

Visual artist, author, educator, and keynote speaker Synthia Saint James, D.H.L.

If her name does not ring a bell, her work will. Do you remember the first Kwanzaa stamp or the book cover for “Waiting to Exhale”? Yes, the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast was happy to welcome that Synthia Saint James to join us for Episode 35. The visual artist whose work has been described as ebullient, bold and joyful, joined us to chat about her craft and career. Her new Kwanzaa stamp will be issued in October 2016.

Dr. Saint James, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Augustine’s University, is an award-winning and widely respected visual artist. Synthia Saint James’ career began in New York City in 1969 when she sold a painting to a co-worker. That sale eventually led to artwork that has been displayed by the U.S. Postal Service, the Center for Disease Control, Essence Communications, the National Chapter of 100 Black Men, the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, Maybelline, Coca Cola USA, Barnes and Noble, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the House of Seagram.

Awards and Recognition

Her work has been commissioned for several public displays. Dr. Saints James’ vibrant colors can be seen at the LA/Ontario International Airport, the West Tampa Library, the Los Angeles non-profit organization WORKS, and the Capitol Area East End Complex in Sacramento to name a few places. Her work has also been included in international group exhibitions in France, Sweden, Canada, Poland, and South Korea. Dr. Saint James’ art is displayed in embassies in Venezuela, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and the Republic of the Congo.

Some of her most noted collectors include have included Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Alice Walker, Glynn Turman, Brenda Russell, Jenifer Lewis, Charles Fuller, Regina Taylor, Randy Crawford, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Coca USA, Spelman College, and Essence Communications.

Naturally, Dr. Saint James has been highly recognized for her work. She earned an induction into the National Association of Women Business Owners, a 2010 Trumpet Award, an award for Woman of the Year for the 26th Senatorial District (Calif.), an AT&T Entrepreneur of the Year award, and a 2012 NAACP Image Award nomination in addition to a distinguished list of other honors and recognition.

Synthia’s Work Beyond Visual Art

Synthia Saint James work is not limited to visual art, however. She is also a speaker, author, actor, and educator. She lights up when speaking of the nearly 20 children’s books she has written and illustrated. Dr. Saint James is a fixture at colleges and universities across the country including several HBCUs. She has visited the campuses of Kentucky State, Voorhees, Morgan State, Tennessee State, Fisk, Bennett, Rust, Spelman, Dillard, Langston, and Winston-Salem State. She has been an artist in residence at Albany State, Alabama State, Cheyney, the District of Columbia, Harris-Stowe State, and of course St. Augustine’s where the Synthia Saint James Fine Art Institute was established.

To learn more about Dr. Saint James’ distinguished career and to view her work, visit www.synthiasaintjames.com.


HL 034: Turning Your Ideas Into a Career with Voiceover Artist Kareem Taylor

June 26, 2016

How did Kareem Taylor, a Clark Atlanta University graduate, make the leap from college student to successful voiceover artist? In this episode of the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast, Kareem shares his story with host Eddie Francis and inspires millennials to pursue their dreams in his book, ‘Get Your Life’.

About Kareem Taylor

Kareem is a growth strategist, author, and voiceover artist who lives in Los Angeles, CA. To learn more about Kareem and purchase your own copy of ‘Get Your Life! The Transforming Power of Turning Fate Into Fortune’ on Amazon, visit GetYourLifeBook.com


HL 033: HBCUs, Alumni, and Financial Equity

May 31, 2016

Podcast 33: HBCUs, Alumni, and Financial Equity featuring Rodrick Miller and Dr. Bill Mayew
Amid discussions of HBCUs and financial equity, the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast digs into two areas not often touched. This edition kicks off with a conversation about how people of color, including HBCU alumni, factor into economic development. The feature interview goes into an area that many of have probably never even considered—bonds.


What role do people of color play in economic development? Rodrick Miller, the CEO and president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, joined the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast to talk the ABCs of economic development. We took the conversation a step further and talked about the value that HBCU alumni bring to their communities.

Miller graduated from St. Augustine’s with a bachelor’s degree in International Business. A Fulbright Scholar, the multilingual Miller also earned his Master of Public Policy from Harvard.

Follow Rod Miller on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.


According to a study, HBCUs pay more than colleges and universities of similar financial strength to issue bonds of the same value. The study, which was covered in April on Inside Higher Ed’s web site, was conducted by a team of four scholars. One of them, Dr. Bill Mayew, was a guest on the podcast.

Dr. Mayew is an associate professor of Accounting at Duke University, and he joined the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast to talk about the study’s findings.


HL 032: Nate Parker Summer Film Institute, Military Vets, and OFC Conference

April 22, 2016

Podcast 32 features Nicole Sharpe (Nate Parker Foundation), Leslie Brown (Hampton University) and M. Scott Lilly (TMCF & Opportunity Funding Corporation.

Podcast episode 32 guests (top to bottom): Nicole Sharpe, Leslie Brown and M. Scott Lilly.

Two major events for HBCU students approach while we find out how we can best support our military veterans.


Producer, director, and actor Nate Parker got his first taste of HBCU life as “Henry Lowe” in “The Great Debaters”. From there, Parker formed a lasting relationship with Wiley College and has since stepped up his commitment to the Marshall, Tex. college.

Through his foundation, Parker has committed to offering a summer film institute and a forthcoming academic program. Nicole Sharpe, co-executive director of the Nate Parker Foundation, joins the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast to talk about the celebrity’s efforts.

Applications for the summer institute, which will be held at Wiley July 8-17, are due April 30. For information, email filminstitute@nateparkerfoundation.org or nicole@nateparkerfoundation.org or call 914-304-4290.


Some of the most beloved members of the HBCU community are military veterans. Their struggles after serving the U.S., however, can be significant. Leslie Brown is a therapist who works with veterans and she joins the podcast to discuss how civilians can better understand and support veterans.

Brown, whose father Jasper Brown appeared on episode 23, is an alumna of Hampton. She is pursuing her Ph.D. and marriage and family therapy.


M. Scott Lilly, vice president of programs of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and president of the Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC), visits the podcast to talk about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program. Sponsored by OFC, the program’s conference will be May 25-28 in Atlanta.

Over the past 14 years, OFC has infused entrepreneurship into HBCUs curricula by providing the resources and knowledge needed to bridge the gap for HBCU students.


HL 031: Youngest PhD Graduate of Delaware State and TM² Education Search

March 15, 2016

Jalaal Hayes Lincoln University,(Pa.), Delaware State University  Christopher Braswell (North Carolina A&T State University)

Episode 31 of the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast features two uplifting stories for the HBCU community. Dr. Jalaal Hayes talks about his journey to earning a doctorate at 22 years old. We also find out TM² Education Search, a firm that seeks to improve HBCU leadership through recruitment and training.


Jalaal Hayes made history when he earned his Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry from Delaware State. Also an alumnus of Lincoln (Pa.), the Philadelphia native talks about how he arrived at the historic point in December 2015.

Dr. Hayes is also the founder of ELYTE Universal, an organization that provides tutoring and promotes STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

Connect with Dr. Hayes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


The HBCU community was abuzz in March 2016 with the news of four former HBCU presidents uniting to form a firm dedicated to identifying quality leadership for HBCUs. Christopher Braswell, the president of TM² Education Search, joined the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast to share why the firm was formed and how it can change the game for HBCUs.

Click to learn more about TM² Education Search.


HL 030: HBCU Lifestyle’s Co-founder, Just Play Entertainment, and the Kresge Foundation

January 31, 2016

Garrick Gibson (Florida A&M University), Leia Avery (Tennessee State University) and Bill Moses (Kresge Education Division).

HBCU Lifestyle has become strong and resource for life at HBCUs so we turned to our fearless leader Garrick Gibson for this podcast. Also, we find out about board games with an urban twist. Finally, the Kresge Foundation pays the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast a visit to talk about their groundbreaking HBCU Initiative.


What was behind the founding of HBCU Lifestyle? What’s in store for 2016? Garrick Gibson, the co-founder of the site, visits the podcast to talk about the mission of HBCULifestyle.com. He also talks about audience feedback as well as what he has planned for this year.

Garrick is an HBCU legacy. Like his father Richard, who is the site’s co-founder, Garrick graduated from Florida A&M. Garrick’s son is a student at FAMU, and both Garrick’s mother and wife are alumnae of Tuskegee.

About the HBCU Lifestyle family


Leia Avery wants to bring people together with fun. That is why the alumna of Tennessee State created a series of board games with her company Just Play Entertainment. Leia talks about her coming from a tradition of entrepreneurship and even gives a sample of a game.

Find your favorite game from Just Play Entertainment


From 2000 to 2005, the Kresge Foundation embarked on an unprecedented mission to help HBCUs with their advancement operations. The ambitious HBCU Initiative awarded five institutions grants and resources to build their advancement offices. Those institutions were Bethune-Cookman, Dillard, Johnson C. Smith, Meharry, and Xavier. Bill Moses, the managing director of Kresge’s education division joins the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast to talk about how those campuses benefited from the resources and training.


HL 029: Boosting HBCU Students’ Mental Health

January 5, 2016

Dr. Larry Walker returns to the podcast for a three-part conversation about mental health among HBCU students particularly black males.

To begin 2016, we brought back an HBCU Lifestyle contributor to talk about a very important issue. Dr. Larry Walker returns to the podcast for a three-part conversation about mental health among HBCU students particularly black males.

Part 1

Dr. Walker begins the podcast by talking about the overall mental health landscape among college students across the country, especially among high-achieving students at highly recognized colleges and universities.

Part 2

We turn our attention to Dr. Walker’s blog “Combating Mental Health Stereotypes Among Black Men”. The podcast conversation even turns to a part of the blog that suggests HBCUs should start including mental health information at homecomings as a way to spread awareness. Finally, we discuss what happens when a black male feels like an outsider at an HBCU.

Part 3

The podcast interview wraps up with suggestions for resources including using campus peer groups as safe havens for students who seek mental health support. Finally, Dr. Walker responds to thoughts that can affect an HBCU student’s mental health.


HL 028: Fundraising Tips for Alumni Associations and Happy HBCU Alumni

December 8, 2015

Featuring Halima Leak Francis (Hampton University) and Brandon Busteed (Gallup, Inc.)

What was behind the Gallup survey that revealed black HBCU alumni’s satisfaction with their alma maters versus black alumni of other institutions? We also get tips and insight about how alumni associations can raise money effectively for their alma maters.


Many alumni associations want to do right by their alma maters and raise much-needed funds, but many may not know which steps to take for fundraising success. Halima Leak Francis, a charitable giving professional, visits the podcast to provide tips for alumni to get the most out of association members. She also provides insight about how to make fundraising effective.

Halima has done fundraising for close to 15 years in higher education and the non-profit sector. She is also a consultant as well as a Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on fundraising capacity building at HBCUs. She publishes the blog “Write to Bear Alms” and graduated from Hampton University.

Follow Halima on Twitter @HLeak.


Gallup produced a survey that went viral around the HBCU community in October 2015. The survey suggested that black alumni of HBCUs experienced greater well-being from their college experiences than their black counterparts from other colleges and universities. Brandon Busteed of Gallup visits the podcast to discuss why the survey was conducted and expand on what the results mean for higher education as a whole.

Brandon is Gallup’s executive director for Workforce and Development. To read about more of Gallup’s research about the connection between college graduates’ well-being and their college experiences, visit Gallup’s web site.

Follow Brandon on Twitter @BrandonBusteed.