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WSSU graduate overcomes obstacles, ready to change the world as an educator

Inayah Turner will attend Temple University to pursue a master’s of urban education.

Inayah Turner had just completed her junior year at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) when tragedy struck. Her family had lost everything in a house fire.

“I felt helpless, and, although my family assured me that my job was to complete my degree, I wanted to stay home and assist in any way possible,” says Turner, an elementary education major from Mount Clair, New Jersey. 

She says it was the emotional support she received from Dr. Dawn Tafari, an assistant professor in WSSU’s Department of Education, that made the difference. 

“Dr. Tafari provided me the well needed emotional support and reassured me that I would overcome this major obstacle in my life,” she says. “She also checked in with me frequently.”

To help make ends meet as a student her senior year at WSSU, Turner worked on-campus as a resident assistant (RA) and as a consultant in the Writer’s Block, the university’s writing center. 

She also found time to get involved on campus as a legacy leader for Ramdition, and served as vice president of Black Women for Change, and president of the Student North Carolina Association of Educators (SNCAE). 

For Turner, there was a feeling of accomplishment as she crossed the stage at WSSU’s 2018 Commencement Ceremony on May 18 with her family and her mentor, Dr. Tafari, there to celebrate with her.

This fall, Turner will begin her teaching career. She also will pursue a master’s degree in urban education from Temple University. 

“I love the fact that teachers are capable of changing the world,” she says. “Teaching is the profession that makes every other profession possible.”

She adds: “I always want my family to feel proud of me. I also want all of us to experience a moment where we are genuinely happy and stress-free. If I am able to provide that feeling for my family through my hard work, then I will continue to succeed for them.”

WSSU’s Education Department is committed to preparing highly-qualified school personnel who effectively model social justice in a diverse 21st century learning community. For more information, please visit the education webpage.

Note: This is one of a series of articles highlighting WSSU's Class of 2018. 

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

Inayah Turner plans to change the world through teaching. 

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