Miss Stillman Jessica Nathan Makes Ebony Campus Queens Top 15
Miss Stillman 2012-2013 does not yet know the final results of Ebony Magazine's HBCU Campus Queens competition. But whatever the outcome may be, the entire Stillman community is thrilled that Jessica Nathan made it to Ebony’s prestigious top 15 list last week.
Only the top ten of the more than 50 campus queens in the competition will be featured in the magazine, so her rise from 34th place to 14th place in less than two weeks inspired a voting frenzy across the campus that crescendoed on Friday, June 7, the final day of voting. Dozens of Stillmanites were up until midnight, clicking away on their computers on Friday. Throughout the night, some voters sent occasional tweets, text messages, and Facebook comments to encourage one another, inspire others to vote, or simply bond with fellow voters.
Administrative Assistant Lindsay Dunagan, who was dubbed a “power voter” after she became the first staff member to cast 500 votes early in the competition, exclaimed, “I just want to show everyone how wonderful Stillman is, and having Jessica in Ebony would be a great way to promote our college.”
Another power voter, Cynthia Leatherwood, who serves as Director of Institutional Research, sent out an SOS at 8 p.m. on Friday night. She, like voters throughout the country who were up late supporting their campus queens, was having difficulty submitting her votes. “I’m having a hard time for some reason!” she texted. Another midnight voter suggested that she vote on her cell phone instead of her computer. “It’s working slowly,” Leatherwood later replied, echoing the sentiments of voters across the nation.
There are over 50 HBCU campus queens in the competition, so Ebony’s server was undoubtedly overwhelmed by throngs of voters. But technical difficulties did not deter “Team Stillman.” Voters sometimes had to wait as long as ten minutes to submit a single vote, but they remained steadfast. Coach William Riley sent an email confirming that he had no intention of giving up. “I plan to keep voting until midnight,” he wrote. At one point in the evening, when votes began to go through more quickly, a jubilant Cristi Hitt, Director of Scholarship Services, texted, “On a roll now!”
Because the College is considerably smaller than many of the more than 50 institutions participating in Ebony’s competition, voters knew that every vote they could successfully submit was essential. Dr. Thomas Jennings who, along with Data Manager Angela Abrams, was the first to vote over 1,000 times earlier in the campaign, cast his final votes from Minnesota, where he was on vacation with his family. In response to a late night Facebook query to determine how many Stillman voters were on duty, his wife Paula responded, “Dr. Jennings and I are up voting.”
Student Government Association (SGA) President Rio Jackson applauds student leaders for also launching a successful campaign to encourage voting. “Our #MissSCEbony campaign was a small but encouraging effort to get more students to continue to vote for and support her. Jessica’s involvement with the SGA and Stillman cannot go unnoticed. We are extremely proud of her work with the college and in the community.”
The day before the final vote, President Ernest McNealey complimented alumni, students, staff, faculty and administration for helping Miss Stillman to reach the Top 15. “If you consider the size of our institution, you cannot help but marvel at this accomplishment. Although we are relatively small, we are clearly determined. What we lack in size, we make up for in dedication,” the President observed.
But the College was by no means alone. Jessica’s family, friends, church members and sorority sisters were also determined to help Miss Stillman 2012-2013 make it to the top. One of Jessica’s supporters, Tiffany Donaldson, wrote on Facebook the morning after the whirlwind contest ended, “I voted until my computer froze! I’m so proud of Jessica Nathan. She is my friend, my line sister, and my soror. It’s been an honor to watch the woman she has become. Stillman is blessed to have had her. Keep your eye on this, because she's not done being great!”
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