You studied chemical engineering at Rutgers and now run Retail Products Development at Perdue Farms, right here on the Eastern Shore. Tell us about how you chose to focus on chemical engineering and how your degree comes into play with your role at Perdue.
I love math and enjoy science; after many high school programs to figure out what I wanted to do with myself I decided on the practical application of science – Engineering. I am proud to say that I graduated with the same major that I had when I entered college. Engineering focuses on detailed and data-based thinking (along with all the science info) – the thought processes that I fostered in school come to play in all aspects of my life including at work.
As a kindness commissioner, you work closely with our Secretary of Kindness, Grace Murdock. What makes you so passionate about the kindness movement here in Salisbury?
I believe that kindness is a basic human need one that a person likes to receive and that makes you feel better when you give. I equate it somewhat to empathy, walking in another person’s shoes – when you think before acting – realizing that there may be more than meets the eye. With kindness, your environment – whether it is the City of Salisbury or Perdue or a Kindness Commissioners Meeting – is so much more pleasant and, honestly, you can get so much more accomplished with its power. Oh, and Grace is amazing – she makes you want to bring out the kindness that is inherent in all of us.
You’re also a member of the Wicomico Complete Count Committee for the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, what made you want to get involved with the Census, and why is it so important that we get a complete count?
My involvement in the Census started one year ago at Delta Day in Annapolis, an event in our state capital hosted by the Maryland Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. At the Census session was the first time that I heard about how funding for the community as well as infrastructure decisions and redistricting is dependent on getting a complete count for the Census. It was there when I heard that for every person not counted there is a significant amount of money that will not be apportioned to the community (it is $18250 per person over 10 years); working with United Way of Lower Eastern Shore and other organizations I know that this money would help fund the great local programs. That day I spoke to Sheree Sample-Hughes in her Annapolis office about my new-found knowledge and how I wanted to work to ensure a Complete Count. Since then I have become a little obsessed with Census bringing awareness to anyone that will listen to fulfill their civic duty (the census is in our Constitution) and complete this confidential form before the enumerators come to your house in May!
In what ways do you personally celebrate black history month?
I celebrate black history and the present throughout the year through supporting my colleagues and friends while continuing to pursue my interests that include community involvement. I am blessed to have a phenomenal circle of people and an upbringing that makes this an imperative. With that said, during the month of February, the information about the accomplishments of African-Americans is so readily available and easy to see, my “celebration” is to read and share the posts, articles, etc. that are right in front of me. A great local example is the social media campaign featuring the people on the Church Street Mural Wall. I have not yet been able to go see the sign, but thoroughly enjoyed reading on the City of Salisbury Facebook page. I love receiving the new information that I readily learn during Black History Month. I am proud of our past and excited about our future.