HBCU Member Spotlight – Kandice N. Smith
How long have you worked for Maximus, and what is your position?
I have been with the company for eight years. Currently, I'm a trainer for the Federal Contact Center Operations contract at Maximus.
Describe why you chose to attend a Historically Black College and University. Was it your first choice?
Yes, it was always my first choice. As a child, I looked forward to attending [Jackson State University] football games with my parents and extended family, many of whom attended Jackson State University and Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). For me, attending an HBCU was like coming home. I went through elementary, middle, and high school learning just the minimum amount of Black culture. Because of my interest in Black culture and other things, I knew that attending a Historically Black College and University was my best option.
What traditions stand out or impacted your overall college experience?
The alma mater song, which is traditionally sung after various events such as football games and graduation ceremonies. Whenever I sing it, I am very moved and often find myself shedding tears since it symbolizes the immense affection and devotion that I have for my HBCU.
Describe how attending an HBCU has impacted your professional career.
The HBCU life experiences have been significant in molding who I am now. Before coming to JSU, I was completely unfamiliar with the idea of professionalism and had no idea what direction my education would take. Once I finished school, I had a renewed sense of drive to pursue better job prospects, with the ultimate goal of pursuing a profession with meaning beyond the monetary rewards. Now I realize that I can rise through the ranks of any company.
What about attending an HBCU might be surprising for those who haven’t had the same experience?
People may incorrectly think HBCUs are a hindrance to success and provide poor educational opportunities.
Currently, what activities, initiatives, or groups do you participate in to give back or stay connected to your alma mater?
Presently, I'm a member of the National Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University, and I always give financial support to my alma mater. In addition, I stay connected by actively participating in various events and engage in networking activities.