“It Is Okay to Challenge Ideologies”

Lacee Winfield’s career aspiration is built around policy and philanthropy.

A senior from Memphis, Tennessee, following graduation Winfield hopes to oversee programming in a foundation or lead research for a think tank focused on diversity, equity and inclusion or other topics pertaining to social policy. An internship with the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy (also known as The Alliance) is giving her an opportunity to begin building her career as she wraps up her busy final year at Millsaps.

As Winfield gains practical experience through her internship at The Alliance, she is also preparing to defend her honors project in mid-January.

“My honors project is titled Persistent Poverty: Housing and Economic Injustice in Urban Environments,” she said. Her research is focused on a neighborhood in Memphis called Orange Mound, a community that was originally a plantation before being purchased by freed slaves.

“My research entails why so many predominantly black communities are experiencing housing and economic injustices as well as what can be done to revitalize many of these communities,” said Winfield. “The interviewing process was long but exciting. I was able to collect narrative and stories from people who only wanted their community to feel safe and wanted their voices to be heard.  I wrote about Orange Mound because I wanted a community that has been ignored since the day it gained its emancipation to finally be acknowledged and treated with respect.”

Originally attracted to Millsaps by the small class sizes and the inviting atmosphere, Winfield credits Dr. Louwanda Evans, associate professor of sociology and director of African-American Studies, with her decision to major in sociology and anthropology. “Without Dr. Evans,” she said, “the lens in which I view critical social justice issues would not be what it is today.”

Winfield also cites Dr. Ming Tsui, associate professor of sociology, and Dr. George Bey, professor of sociology and anthropology, as other positive influences on her studies and time at Millsaps.

“Dr. Ming forced me to think objectively and view issues and resolutions from all angles. She made me question how I process both facts and opinions logically. Ultimately, she led me to the realization that it is okay to challenge ideologies. Dr. Bey has been my advisor for almost every important task while at Millsaps, and has always motivated me to push my limits in hopes to tap into my full potential.”



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