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New Book: “Women Unbound”

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Book Title: Women Unbound

Author: Udunma Ikoro

Publishers:  Communique Resource Hub.

Pages: 221

Reviewer: Emeaba Onuma Emeaba

Time there was when women were stampeded into remaining anonymous in plain sight. Somehow, the women chewed the inside of their lower lips, remained quiet, suppressed their emotions, and pretended not to exist. Everyone, including the chauvinistic cadre that concocted that faux-pas became the worse for it. Acceptance of that incongruity engendered unnecessary misunderstandings that resulted not only in the stifling of serious potentials, but also in the bringing about of nightmarish endings and unfulfilled promises for the significant other.  Up front, society lost the most capable, competent, and reliable co-worker; and everyone suffered, Udunma Ikoro seems to say in, “a woman is a natural influencer born with the capacity to lead and impact anyone and everything.”

The Intentional Woman by Ikoro—who brings to her subject a writer’s tenacity and a teacher’s propensity for moulding a classroom full of wide-eyed children into shape—is a generous, unsettling, and somewhat visionary work that resembles that of Dale Carnegie: a series of mini-lessons on the virtues encapsulated in the iconic “‘I can’ is the parent of ‘I did.’”

Ikoro, not only makes the book resound with instructional savoir-faire, but she also has assembled a large corpus of real-life anecdotes to back up her assertions. And, serving as a de-facto manifesto for women in general, (and men, if you want to know the truth), the word “book” does not sound right to describe it. The insight she has to offer in this excellent motivational book takes full advantage of the opportunities that Ikoro presents to the reader when she resorts to the use of the been-there-done-that class of people—some of them unnerving and disconcerting—who have had it rough but are able to forcefully, positively bounce back, in many respects.

Motivational authorities have talked themselves hoarse drumming it into us that we should overcome limiting factors against our upward mobility; to fight to bring our potentials to the fore. Sadly, that truism seems to be simply meant for the men, excluding the women in our society. The rest of us, inadvertently inveigled by generational gaffes, have buoyed the anomaly because it was so reassuringly convenient; and life goes on. Not anymore, says Udunma Ikoro, who has swung into guru territory, too. Becoming the latest in the ranks of motivational pundits like Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins and the good old Dale Carnegie, she has argued that the woman should not only think outside the box, but must also climb out of the box, in order to be able to do what she is created to do: be the best partner she is meant to be.

Pleasant, poised, empathetic, but this intricate book which resembles a medicinal concoction for what ails the woman of today, works on many other levels. She seems to observe her atmospheres’ world in a series of distinct, almost palpable imageries. It is suffused with a medley of literary language—from the past, from the bible, from glib anecdotes, through motivational patter, brief biographies, and on to first-person reflections.

In The Intentional Woman, Ikoro tells us, rather compellingly, that we may have measured accomplishments using different considerations and criteria, but that such success can only happen if certain of our women, some of whom are brilliance personified, bring to bear a willingness to discover those core latent talents simmering inside them. The book, which is dedicated to “every girl child, lady, woman who has desire to be more” maintains that we set aside our fears and take a leap of faith even if we have to defy certain “taboos” that tend to stultify our ability to go forth and conquer.

Ikoro argues that “In the journey of life, you must attain self-discovery; ascertain values in order to have a clearer view of your purpose in life.”  She offers a truck-load of riff on the things to do that she believes stand ready to nudge anyone who dares, along. She is at her most persuasive on the narrower motivational spiels like “In building your mind-set, stop the fear in you,”  and has dwelt, untiringly on definite themes, for example, “to be intentional is about being deliberate, working towards a purpose, being thoughtful in your choices or being proactive.”

Using real life (her life) scenarios, the book takes us through the necessary steps needed for women (and the rest of us) to unbridle our latent talents. She says we should unveil ourselves by discovering who we are; find our gifts to reveal our talents; forget whatever anyone says to the contrary of who we are; throw in some education that is at par with our self-development; and go out there to kick behinds as we claw ourselves up to a cloud nine position; which we deserve.

This book is packed. The writer Udunma Ikoro, currently the lead creative director, Communique Resource Hub, and Professional Communication Educational and Book Project Consultant, proposes we assume intentionality and not think of it as a “cliché,” but as “being purposeful in life, actions and words.” She tells appealing episodic stories, which serve to lucidly clarify multifaceted biblical allusions and anecdotes as they relate to the topic, and presents surprising perceptions into the nature of extraordinary performance: noting, for example, that profound successes are often driven by a spell of let-down and the encountering of hurdles along the way.

In eleven segments—instead of chapters—of elaborate prose, Ikoro takes an entirely different tactic to make her point. She insists that “…nobody owes me anything, nobody owes me my joy, my space, fulfilment, and anything.” Then backs that up, when she adds, “I owe myself my greatness.” In the process, she manages to write the book in such a way that it is difficult to be turned into a bouillon cube made of many ingredients. This is a tricky trapeze walk, but she is able to pull it off by weaving a motivational narrative that points to one thing: Women; go out there and get it—full stop.

Geared towards counselling, teaching, and straight up cautioning, this is a profoundly thought-provoking and significant book because Ikoro—the youngest motivational authority of our time—has performed a mystical showmanship on paper such that you could almost scratch-n-sniff the motivational frankness that is its strength. One leaves this book impressed with the way in which the author manages to haul examples and facts at the reader insisting they take the one step that would change their current ruts. The book is bound to entertain, even as it touches those hitherto untouchable topics that women are so pre-programmed to shy away from. Every girl child (nay, everybody) should read this book.

To obtain copies, email the author directly: udunmaikoro@gmail.com.

Emeaba, the author of “A Dictionary of Literature,” writes dime novels a la Onitsha Market Literature sub-genre.

Texas Guardian News

Education

Black teen in Georgia awarded over $14m in scholarships, accepted at 231 colleges

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An 18-year-old low-income student has just defied the odds by achieving an extraordinary feat in her pursuit of higher education.

Madison Crowell, from Hinesville, Georgia secured her acceptance into an astounding 231 colleges and universities across the nation. She has also been awarded an impressive $14.7 million in scholarships to support her academic journey.

Crowell’s remarkable achievement is not only a testament to her academic prowess but also to her unwavering determination and resilience in the face of adversity.

Growing up in a low-income community, she explained she was driven by a desire to showcase the possibilities available to students like herself.

“I wanted to apply to as many schools as I did because I want to show the kids here in Liberty County that it’s possible to get accepted into schools […] that you think might be out of your reach but is definitely in reach,” she told Good Morning America.

Despite facing challenges along the way, Crowell remained steadfast in her pursuit of higher education. With the support of her parents, Sgt. 1st Class Delando Langley and Melissa Langley, she embarked on college tours and road trips from a young age, preparing herself for the journey ahead.

Now, as she prepares to embark on her college adventure, Crowell’s hard work and determination have paid off. She has chosen to attend High Point University in High Point, North Carolina, where she will pursue her academic aspirations under a full tuition scholarship.

In response to her incredible achievement, High Point University President Dr. Nido Qubein extended a warm welcome to Crowell, recognizing her potential to achieve greatness.

“We welcome you to our HPU family”, he said. “You’re going to do exceptional things right here at The Premier Life Skills University, where we call everybody to be extraordinary. The sky is not the limit […] and when you come here to High Point University, we know you’ll be a leader. We know you’ll make amazing things happen. We’re here to resource her, cheer you on and celebrate you victory.”

Despite her overwhelming number of acceptances, Cromwell revealed she hadn’t been accepted to other top schools and urged other students to persevere.

“I know what it’s like to be deferred from a dream school and you don’t know if you’re gonna get the chance to apply again or you’re not going to be accepted again,” she said. “I just want to make it known that nothing is impossible and that the sky is not the limit and that you want to keep pushing for greatness.”

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11 Communication Students Awarded Scholarships at TSU’s Commweek

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Each student received $1,000 through the SOC scholarship initiative.

Scholarships alleviate financial stress and contribute to academic success, diversity, and equitable access to education. They are a valuable resource for college students, opening doors that might otherwise remain closed due to financial barriers. The 2024 Commweek – the 42nd Intercultural and Communication Conference of the School of Communication (SOC) at Texas Southern University ended Friday, April 12 with a cheerful outcome. 11 communication students walked away with a fat check as beneficiaries of the SOC Commweek Scholarship initiative.

The recipients of the 2024 Commweek scholarships are Christopher Jarmon, Rachel Frank, Benjamin Clark, Racheal Lewis, Briannah Dilworth, Courtney Roberts, Precious Johnson, Douglas Gordon, Briana Williams, Zoria Goodley, and Erin Slaughter. Each student received $1,000 from the SOC scholarship initiative, aimed at helping students overcome financial obstacles while pursuing their academic goals. The funds can be used to cover tuition, textbooks, other educational expenses, and living costs like housing, transportation, and food.

Dr. Chris Ulasi, the Interim Dean of the School of Communication, explained that the scholarship funds were made possible through grants and donations from corporate and local businesses. These contributions were specifically designated for talented and economically disadvantaged students within the School of Communication. “Many of these students rely on financial aid to support their education. Therefore, we prioritized collaborating with private and corporate partners to support this initiative,” Dr. Ulasi stated.

Themed “Amplifying Diverse Voices in Media and Communication,” Commweek kicked off on April 8 and concluded with an Awards Gala on Friday, April 12, 2024, where scholarships were presented. Throughout the week, scholars, students, professionals, and civic leaders engaged in discussions on topics with cultural, political, economic, and social significance, as well as communication dynamics.

The School of Communication (SOC) at Texas Southern University is a dynamic academic institution that fosters interdisciplinary learning. With four departments and two graduate programs – Communication Studies, Entertainment Recording Industry Management (ERIM), Journalism, and Radio, Television, and Film (RTF), along with a Master of Arts (MA) in Communication and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Communication and Digital Media (PCDM) – SOC has been a leader in training culturally responsive professionals and scholars for nearly five decades. Graduates are equipped to navigate diverse urban and international environments with inclusivity and a deep understanding of historical context.

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TSU Announces 2024 Annual Communication Week

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TEXAS INTERNATIONAL GUARDIAN, HOUSTON, TX – The representation of diverse racial and ethnic groups, as well as sexual and gender identities in the media, is critically important because it accurately shapes decency, fairness, and unity in the community. When media lacks or portrays insensitive representations, it can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and discrimination, further marginalizing these identities.

The School of Communication (SOC) at the Texas Southern University (TSU) has announced its 2024 Commweek, signifying the 42nd Intercultural and Communication Conference. Themed “Amplifying Diverse Voices in Media and Communication”, the conference will be held April 8 – 12, 2024, and will culminate with an Awards Gala on Friday, April 12, 2024, at the University’s Tiger Room.

Ensuring a diversity of voices in the media requires holistic monitoring systems and the wider application of target-based measures for both public and private media. Amplifying diverse perspectives can instigate a richer and more inclusive media landscape that benefits the entire populace. The Intercultural Communication Conference provides a forum for scholars, students, professionals, and civic-minded leaders to explore topics with cultural, political, economic, and social implications as well as communication dynamics. But the theme is necessary and also, it is coming at the right time.

The challenges posed by a lack of diverse voices in media and communication can be seen across social, political, economic, and cultural spheres of influence. These issues can influence the views represented in news coverage and dissemination. Indeed, the diversity of perspectives is key to creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

According to Dr. Chris Ulasi, the Interim Dean of the School of Communication, “The 2024 event will be special because we are equally raising scholarship funds for gifted and economically disadvantaged students in the School of Communication.  Traditionally, a majority of our students rely on some form of financial assistance to fund their education. This is why I am using this opportunity to appeal to individuals, corporations, and community organizations to support this cause.”

According to a release made available to our newsroom, proceeds from this event will,

  • Help SOC students break down financial barriers while pursuing their academic prospects.
  • Help SOC students cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, and other educational expenses.
  • Help SOC students supplement the cost-of-living expenses such as housing, transportation, and food.
  • Create retention possibilities for students who might drop out for financial reasons.
  • Act as incentives and encouragement to students in general.
  • This financial sponsorship will be a catalyst for expanding SOC’s ongoing professional relationship with corporate businesses, community organizations, and individual sponsors.

Dr. Anthony Ogbo, co-chaired by Professor Ladonia Randle, and Ms. Michele Jones, is joined by a team of very engaging and supportive members who meet regularly to finalize the machinery for a successful event.  According to Dr. Ogbo, “The 2024 Commweek is expected to draw a line-up of dignitaries from the business, academic, and government sectors. For instance, the City of Houston’s Vice Mayor Pro-Tem, Council Member Martha Castex-Tatum will lead the conference opening ceremony on Monday, April 8. Also, Dr. Kathleen McElroy, renowned Journalist and Professor at the School of Journalism and Media at The University of Texas at Austin will lead the opening session of the intercultural conference on Thursday, April 10.”

The School of Communication (SOC) at Texas Southern University is a transformational, interdisciplinary academic school with four departments and two graduate programs: Communication Studies; Entertainment Recording Industry Management (ERIM); Journalism; Radio, Television, and Film (RTF); and Master of Arts (MA) in Communication and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Communication and Digital Media (PCDM). For 48 years, the school has been at the forefront of training culturally responsive professionals and scholars who can navigate urban and international settings with a deep sense of inclusivity and an understanding of historical legacy.

Texas Southern University possesses an impressive array of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations, a diverse faculty, 80-plus student organizations, and an extensive alumni network comprised of educators, entrepreneurs, public servants, lawyers, pilots, artists, and more, many of whom are change agents on the local, national and international stage. Nestled upon a sprawling 150-acre campus, Texas Southern University is one of the nation’s largest historically black universities.

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