Faces of Rhodes

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Morgan Hanna ′13

Hometown: Memphis, TN
Major: Political Science
Minor: Double Minor in English and African American Studies

Academic Passions/Interests: Constitutional law and politics, English/writing, policy analysis

Extracurricular activities: Class Council Chairman, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Allocations Board, Serving Our Students (S.O.S.) Mentor, Black Student Association, National Pan-Hellenic Council Vice-President, Runway Trainer, Shelby County Public Defender Intern

Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.

Ever since I was in middle school, my dad had always told me how prestigious and great an institution Rhodes was. I hadn’t considered it until I began receiving letters in the mail and visited—the friendliness of the campus, my knowledge of Rhodes’ academic rigors, and the scholarships sold me.

How did you change at Rhodes College?

I gained a stronger understanding and appreciation of diverse people’s interests and perceptions on social, political, economic, and cultural relations. Everyone has a different background, and those distinct experiences are what make Rhodes an ideal place for learning.
 
Tell us more about your internship with Mayor AC Wharton. What projects were you involved in?

I helped to execute the aims and goals of the Office of Talent and Human Capital, whose mission is to attract some of the nation’s most talented and brilliant citizens to Memphis. Specifically, much of my work was with the Colleges of Memphis, which is an initiative to build relationships among the city’s 14 colleges and universities and enhance students’ overall college experiences in Memphis. I organized meetings for administrators, college presidents, and Mayor Wharton, and also helped plan Colleges of Memphis Night for two years. This event is attended by students, faculty, and presidents and is held in order to inspire meaningful relationships that build upon current and developing educational and social ideals (and to offer more information about what the city of Memphis has to offer). We launched the first Student Connect event, where students were able to directly engage with Mayor Wharton in an intimate conversation on matters most important to their academic/social advancement and overall connection with Memphis. I was responsible for brainstorming questions and topics to be discussed at the event as well as updating selected students and helping with planning.

I also wrote important documents (for internal and external purposes) and attended meetings with prominent leaders from Memphis and from outside of Memphis, including both mayors, directors of grants, college presidents, and executive directors of leading educational, governmental, and service organizations. I was asked to offer insight at some of these meetings.

How did your involvement in Class Council, BSA, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Allocation’s affect your time at Rhodes?

These four organizations have had a tremendously positive impact on my time at Rhodes, as well as my overall enjoyment of this institution. They served as avenues for connecting, brainstorming, and socializing with my peers of all ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, and interests. Through Class Council, I not only got to connect with my senior class, but  also had the opportunity to help guide, as well as learn from, the freshman, sophomore, and junior councils. Since my first week at Rhodes, BSA served as an incredible support system and advanced my experiences at Rhodes through its cultural, social, and academic events and the genuine friendships I gained, as well as the empowering leadership conference I attended twice as part of serving on the Executive Board. As the premier African American sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha certainly added to my commitment and passion toward service, as well as immersed me in a beautiful, impactful sisterhood that is unparalleled. Being on the Allocation’s Board was one of my favorite ways to really engage with Rhodes, through having a voice in matters affecting students while promoting fairness to all student organizations.

Compiled by Emily Sullivan

Tags: African American Studies, English, Political Science, Tennessee