We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Shanta Patrick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Shanta, what do you want your legacy to be?
As a young child, I would immerse myself in books and magazines. I spent many hours in my neighborhood library and was disappointed that there was a limit on how many books I could check out to take home with me. Nevertheless, I would spend countless hours reading and imagining what I would do…what I COULD do with my life. Reading the stories of women who had accomplished goals that they had set for themselves even in the face of adversity inspired me to reach for what others might think is the unthinkable. I am thankful for the beautiful faces in those magazines that were accompanied by a beautiful MIND and SPIRIT. They inspired me to become #BeautySquared.
You see, when I am no longer here, I want people to hear my name, see my picture, or hear a recording of my voice and not only feel a sense of admiration for a life well-lived, but also feel inspired to be beautiful. Not beautiful in the traditional sense of the word, but following the definition of setting and possessing a very high standard. Love to write? Write BEAUTIFULLY. Give to your community BEAUTIFULLY. Work BEAUTIFULLY. Play BEAUTIFULLY. Be the STANDARD and not the STATISTIC in all that you do.
It is my desire to encourage girls and women of all ages to love themselves, embrace the things that society says are flaws, and live life beautifully, knowing that they are amazing on the inside and outside. They are #BeautySquared.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am primarily an educator, but I also model, write and co-host the Peep the Perspectives podcast. That mix in itself sets me apart from others. I have been in education for over 20 years and currently serve as an Academic Coach in my district and an adjunct professor at Columbus State University. I’ve been fulfilled by every single moment of my career. I like to tell the story about my decision to become a teacher stemming from my first day in kindergarten. When I observed all the students watching and listening to the directions that the teacher was giving, I knew that teaching was the job for me! You get to tell people what to do all day and they listen? Now of course, that’s not how it really is as a teacher, but I am honored to say that for the most part I always found a way to connect with my students, both elementary and adult, so that when I spoke, they listened.
I am excited that teaching led me to creating opportunities for young people. I am currently working on a scholarship program, community service award and just completed my fifth year of the Dr. Shanta McClurkin Patrick Creative Writing Contest. All of these are a part of #EsteemWORKS which is the umbrella organization of mine that includes platforms for education and the arts, women’s empowerment and modeling. Esteem means to be held in high regards, which if you know me, I encourage everyone to put their absolute best in everything they do. Esteem isn’t anything without effort though, thus the term EsteemWORKS.
I have been fortunate that I have not had many obstacles in my professional career. I took the traditional path of high school to college and began teaching. I earned my Master’s degree in 2004, the same year I had my daughter. I had my son in 2006 and took a few years to focus on my children. I went back to school and earned my Doctorate in 2016. I have received many accolades and awards during my career. I am very fortunate.
The greatest lesson that I have learned along my professional career is to be the role model that I needed when I was a child. Some people may not see how my love for modeling, working with women and girls on self-esteem issues, writing, the arts and teaching all go together, but they do. Young girls are watching me everyday when I step onto campus. They are watching my walk, my talk, my interactions. I have always been the “cute chubby girl”. Well, as I hold my head up high and allow my confidence to envelope the room, I am helping another “cute chubby girl” realize that they are beautiful, they are capable, they are smart and they are WORTHY of respect. We have way too many negative role models out there. I’m making it hip to be pretty, smart, creative and kind all at the same time!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I actually live a little south of Atlanta in the city of Columbus. Columbus has quite a few best kept secrets for fun, entertainment and my personal favorite, the arts. I’m interested in the history of what makes our city what it is, so I would include trips to the Ma Rainey House and Blues Museum, the William H. Spencer House (I graduated from Spencer High School) and the Historic Linwood Cemetery. As a military brat, I definitely want to take a trip to the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. I love to catch a great show, so the Historic Liberty Theater, the Springer Opera House and the Columbus River Center for Performing Arts are all on the list. As far as food, drink and hanging out, Cafe’ Le Rue for a little Cajun and Creole, Mabella’s Italian Steakhouse for fine dining and the Loft for traditional American food and some lighthearted music and fun. I also LOVE to dance, but I’m not going to tell my favorite place in the city to let my hair down, lol. Those closest to me already know the deal!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout definitely goes to my mother and father. They laid the absolute best foundation for me in all aspects of life. They modeled what a beautiful, loving relationship looks like, how to gain admiration and respect from others and how to simply enjoy this thing called life. They helped me understand that the only limits I have on my life are the ones in my mind and that I could do anything I set my mind and hands to. On my lowest days, they were (and still are) there to lift my head and remind me of the greatness that is within me. I do not take it for granted how tremendously blessed I am to have them in my life.
Linkedin: Shanta (McClurkin) Patrick
Youtube: Dr. Shanta Patrick
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