Focus, focus, focus

As a parent of a college student, you want nothing more than for them to be focused on a career path. Most high school students don’t have a clue where to begin when deciding on a profession as well as even many freshman and sophomores in college. Many times those paths change as the coursework intensifies and passions/ambitions begin to take hold in their lives.

Take, Tamara McMoore for instance. When Tamara McMoore graduated from Kenwood High School in 2004, she came to Tennessee State University to study psychology.
“I was lost in college,” McMoore said.

By happenstance Barry Scott, a former theater coordinator at TSU, gave her a script, suggesting she read it, perhaps consider performing in the play. That led McMoore to star in her first play, Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The production went on to win accolades at Nashville’s Shakespeare Festival.

“Dancing was my first love, but all in all I fell in love with theatre,” she said. “I just knew that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.”

Today McMoore is a senior at TSU majoring in theatre. She is looking forward to graduation in May and then perhaps going on to graduate school. In addition to her studies and participating in theater productions at TSU, McMoore also works with theatres in Nashville. This has given her the opportunity to not only hone her craft as an actor, but to learn the intricacies of operating a theatre.

“I appreciate the entire process, I love it all,” she said. “When I go home at night I am happy tired, because I am doing what I want to do.”

Last November, McMoore starred as Josephine in the TSU production of “Ruined,” by Lynn Nottage. The play depicts the atrocities inflicted upon the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where in the eastern part of that nation chaos and conflict has been a constant for decades. Nottage’s “Ruined” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2009.

The play left a lasting impression on McMoore.

“It made me appreciate what I have,” she said. “As we talk there are women being mutilated from as young as age 2.”

Her character, Josephine was the daughter of a chief. When soldiers raided her village, Josephine was raped, beaten and taken from her village, McMoore said.

“She found refuge in a whore house,” she said. “That’s the irony of the situation, to find refuge in a place like that. I don’t think anyone can watch anything like that and not be affected. Certain things will never leave my mind – ever.”

The cast of the TSU production has been invited to compete in the regional round of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Daytona Beach, Fla., Feb. 2 through Feb. 6. The students are currently raising money to offset travel expenses. If the group wins the competition in Florida, they will move on to the national competition in Washington, D.C.

“This production is really good,” McMoore said. “I know we will make it to nationals.”
Not only does she look upon this as an opportunity to win national recognition for the production, but McMoore also hopes to do her part in shedding light on the unspeakable acts that are being committed against the women of eastern Congo.

For the typical first year student, career planning is not an immediate concern. Students are focused on choosing classes, finding their way around campus, making new friends, and experiencing new freedoms. Exploration is an important part of the first-year experience. By the end of the sophomore year, students need to declare a major. The Career Center at TSU offers several ways to help sophomores find direction and make wise choices. Students are encouraged to meet with a staff member to discuss career possibilities related to their interests, skills, abilities, and values. The Career Center has assessments that can help students learn more about themselves in relation to career or graduate school choices.

The Career Development Center is located on the 3rd floor of the Floyd Payne Campus Center.

Office Hours are:
Monday – Thursday 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Friday 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

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