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Derek King ′10

Hometown: Fairfield, AL
Major: Psychology
Minor: African American Studies
Fun Fact: Derek made All-SCAC Honorable Mention for football and academic all-conference. Despite two ACL surgeries, one on each knee, Derek plays both Varsity Baseball and Football.

What volunteer work do you do in Memphis?
I volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters with the AMACHI Program. We find high school students to tutor and mentor elementary school children, some of whom have incarcerated parents. My job is to interview and match the children with mentors.

This summer I taught 10th grade English at the Memphis Grizzlies Academy, and I’ve been tutoring there since sophomore year. It’s a high school for kids who are at least a year behind their grade level. The program tries to catch them up and allow them to graduate on time. They have longer school days and mandatory summer school. My summer service fellowship there allowed me to teach a 10th grade English class how to put together a research paper.

What impact do you think you made?
At the beginning my class was really frustrated with me. I was trying to show them something that they hadn’t done and didn’t think they could do. Toward the end of the summer, when they completed their papers I could see their feeling of accomplishment for putting something together that they were proud of.

Do you ever get to test out what you learn in your psychology classes?
Yes! In Social Psychology especially, I see how people react and how they interact with people who are different from them. My Counseling Psychology class has helped me a lot with interviewing, asking pertinent questions and knowing what to look for. Now I’m in Educational Psychology, which is really giving me insight into that realm of psychology as well.

What does your research in social justice involve?
Last semester Dr. Mistie Germek put together a research team to look at social justice, in particular, how white privilege affects us on and off campus. We distributed a survey tracing how race and gender contribute to certain groups being privileged, and how that affects us in society.

What psychology class have you enjoyed most at Rhodes?
I really appreciated senior seminar, with Dr. Bette Ackerman, because I got to choose my own research topic. I studied how to gauge success at Rhodes based on factors other than GPA. Jenay Gipson, Keegan Soelke and I hypothesized that developing a set of values would have the greatest impact on student success. In the end it came down primarily to academics. We concluded that personal growth factors could not be ignored, and that is one of the main objectives of a liberal arts education.

What is your dream for after graduation?
I’d like to have a career in education where I can apply psychological research.

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Bette Ackerman June 1, 2010

DK -- You have been an an exemplar of both kindness and how much a person can grow intellectually. Thanks for making Rhodes, and my classes, better by your presence and hard work. I miss you already!

Stephanie Valentine May 6, 2010

What a wonderful surprise to see your story on the website. Rhodes does a wonderful job of showing a diverse slice of the great student body. I am especially proud of you and the rest of my "adopted" in the Class of 2010!

Justin Ray May 5, 2010

Wowsers Mr. King you are without a doubt a great example for us young African American men. It is a refreshing thought to know that if you can do it not only I but we as a people can be successful. So with that in mind, keep it up!

Derya Twyman April 15, 2010

Derek you are an inspiration to all. I am so very proud of you and all of the accomplishments you have made. As you continue to set and reach your goals, let these experiences foster your future. Always keep your head up despite the obstacles in life. Way to go DK.
Love always. Ma.

Kristen Rice April 9, 2010

Derek is a wonderful person to be around.  I wish him the very best in life and love.  With all that he has been through and accomplished, he never gave up.  He as always been a true to friend to all and I wish him well with all that he do.

Jacqueline A. Terrell April 9, 2010

I think this is a very well rounded student. His goals and aspirations are limitless with the major he has chosen. I think both he and Rhodes have been enriched by his completion of the Bachelors Degree.  I wish him much success.