Helene Gayle, M.D., MPH, 11th president of Spelman College, was recently tapped by Forbes Magazine to offer her thoughts on why – and how – the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are changing the future of our workforce and our world.

"Young people today are looking for an environment that lets them know they can be whoever they want to be," Dr. Gayle said. "Students who could have gone to any Ivy League school have chosen to come to Spelman for a variety of reasons – including the fact that other members of the community aren’t wondering if they are there because of affirmative action."

Dr. Gayle also shared her thoughts on how Spelman, specifically, equips young women to take on life beyond the campus gates – touting the College’s dedicated faculty, unique educational opportunities, and various professional development and internship opportunities.

"Spelman by its nature says that when you walk through the door, we have high expectations for you and we will do whatever is necessary so that you can be the best that you can be."

Earlier this year, Dr. Gayle was named one of the Top 10 Black Higher Education CEOs to Watch in 2023 by Forbes Magazine.

To read more, visit the Forbes
Campus Highlights

Spelman College Spanish minors Jasmine Mann, C’2024, and Madison Brown, C’2025, will embark on a comprehensive journey to explore the complex Black roots of Latinx history, identity, culture and politics as 2023 fellows for the AfroLatinidades Advanced Mentoring and Summer Research Program at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).

This competitive internship opportunity – part of the UCSB AfroLatinidades Institute – is funded by the University of California (UC) System’s UC-HBCU Initiative, which strives to cultivate research-based relationships with students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to increase Black student representation in UC graduate programs. Additional partners in this initiative include Morehouse College and Texas Southern University.

Through an engaging curated curriculum, Mann and Brown will enjoy monthly virtual topical discussion sessions from March through June followed by an in-person summer experience at UCSB – offering coursework in AfroLatinx literature, culture and criticism. Additional support to ensure success is granted through access to an extensive UC System-wide mentorship initiative, field trips to various UC campuses and participation in research presentations at select conferences.

To learn more, visit the UCSB AfroLatinidades Institute website.

Save the date! On Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Wellness Center Demo Kitchen, Spelman College American Red Cross HBCU Ambassador Lauren Jackson, C’2024, and partners Delta Airlines and the American Red Cross will host a blood drive – giving Spelman students, faculty and staff an opportunity to do their part to save a life.Participants will have a chance to win a $3000 Visa pre-paid card plus receive a $20 Amazon e-gift card and a $10 Visa pre-paid card via email. Individuals planning to donate blood are urged to eat iron rich foods, drink plenty of water
, and get good rest prior to donation. Student ID is required to participate.

For more information, and to learn more about this effort, visit the American Red Cross HBCU Ambassador Program website.

Artists Bisa Butler, Calida Rawls and Amy Sherald led a historic discussion during last week’s "Black American Portraits Symposium Opening Conversation" in the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D., Academic Center Auditorium on Mar. 2. The livestreamed event was moderated by author Naima Keith and hosted by the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and the Atlanta University Center Art + Curatorial Studies Collective.

Although "Black American Portraits" reframes portraiture to center Black American subjects, sitters and spaces, this particular highlight of the exhibit was focused on the placement of Black women portrait artists on the center stage.

"The thing that makes this show special here at Spelman is that we are the only museum in the nation dedicated to art by and about women of the African Diaspora, Black women," said Dr. Liz Andrews, executive director of the Museum. "This is an exhibition that includes male artists, women artists, trans artists even; but we wanted to center Black women."

From admirable moments that paid homage to artists who have paved the way to exciting engagement from the audience during the Q&As, AUC friends, colleagues, distinguished guests and scholars explored some of the greatest inspirations behind today’s most celebrated Black women artists.

To learn more about the "Black American Portraits" exhibit and any associated events, visit Spelman’s Museum of Fine Art page.

More than 150 students hailing from 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) traveled to the Robert Woodruff Library for the first-ever HBCU Game Jam, held February 24 through 26.

Founded by Spelman professor and alumna, Jaycee Holmes, C’2016, the HBCU Game Jam was a fun and engaging way to welcome HBCU students to the gaming and tech industries. The weekend focused on three tiers of education for students: Learn, Apply and Connect. Students soaked up knowledge in skill-based workshops, applied what they learned during an overnight Hackathon and connected by networking with industry representatives from major tech and gaming companies.

"We are so grateful to every activation booth representative, faculty member, workshop facilitator, mentor, judge, keynote speaker, volunteer and guest who volunteered their time to support and celebrate this amazing cohort of HBCU students," Holmes said of the successful weekend of events.

For more information, visit the official HBCU Game Jam website.

While the Spelman Connection will continue to highlight the best and brightest of our community, we are excited to relaunch Inside Spelman our new digital publication taking a closer look at the people, events, and spirit of Spelman College.

To subscribe to Inside Spelman, click here.

If you have an idea for a news or feature story about Spelman faculty, staff, students or alumnae, we would love to hear about it. Submit your story ideas to   

The Home Depot’s Retool Your School is back, and voting is open! Now through March 26, you have the opportunity to cast your vote and help Spelman College receive Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant funding to upgrade campus infrastructure.

Developed to benefit the nation’s treasured Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Retool Your School program is 14 years strong and is strengthening the literal and figurative foundations of historically Black learning spaces with each passing year.

To learn more and cast your vote, visit the Retool Your School website.

It’s a great time to work at Spelman College! With a variety of perks and benefits for staff, including tuition waivers, health and wellness resources, and a beautiful, historic campus, Spelman is more than a place to work.

The Spelman College Division of Institutional Advancement is seeking motivated candidates to fill the following positions:

To apply, or to learn more about these and other positions, visit

Alumnae Spotlight
Tawnya Plummer Laughinghouse, C’95, program manager of the Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) Program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), never thought she would lead a legendary career in STEM.

Before starting her career at NASA, Laughinghouse planned to become a doctor. From an experience with Spelman College’s NASA WISE (Women In Science and Engineering) program, Laughinghouse was inspired to pursue STEM.

By 2005, she acquired her MSM in management of technology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville after receiving a B.S. in chemistry from Spelman College and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In her mission to pave the way for future female leaders, Laughinghouse strives to create a legacy of inspiration rather than being "the first."

"I believe your impact is so much greater when you are intentional about preparing others for opportunities that will ensure you’re not the last," Laughinghouse explained in a 2022 interview with The Redstone Rocket. "I count it an honor when a fellow supervisor asks if I can mentor a new leader in their department or a performer with high potential."
Spelman Scenes
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