This year’s top honor graduate at Claflin University, Mudiwa Pettus, finished with a 4.0 grade point average. Now, she’s going to pursue a Ph.D. with a desire to one day become a professor to inspire and mentor students.
“It feels great to be the top honor graduate. When I came to college, I never even thought about this possibility,” said Pettus, a native of Atlanta, Ga.
How does one maintain all A’s throughout the entire collegiate experience? For Pettus, it’s pretty simple – do your work and go to class.
The English major came to Claflin as an accomplished student. She was editor of her high school newspaper, a member of the robotics team and yearbook staff. “I was kind of bookish and people saw me as quiet,” she said.
At Claflin, she expanded both her academic and social repertoire. She received two research fellowships, the UNCF Mellon/Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Emory University and the Lindon Barrett Scholars Mentoring Program at the University of California-Riverside.
“Over the last four years, I’ve developed a more realistic view of life,” Pettus said. “I really have had a lot of growth intellectually. This has been a tremendously formative experience. My professors have really been invested in me to ensure that I’m successful and foster my academic growth.”
Pettus said Dr. Melissa Pearson, assistant professor of English, had a positive influence on her.
“I am thrilled that Mudiwa is well on her way to becoming a noted scholar and professor,” Pearson said. “She has always displayed a remarkable focus and determination to succeed academically. She’s the epitome of what great students we have at Claflin University. It’s been an absolute joy to teach Mudiwa.”
This fall, Pettus will attend Pennsylvania State University to study English and women’s studies with the ultimate goal of earning a Ph.D. Her interests include race and gender inequality in literature.
At Claflin, she was president of Sigma Tau Delta, a student in the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, captain of the quiz bowl team and a tutor at the University Writing Center.
Four years ago, she arrived unsure of what career she wanted to pursue. She chose English as a major simply because it was her favorite subject. Now, Pettus wants to join the ranks of those professors who mentored her and return the favor to the next generation. She desires to become a tenured professor at a top university.
“I just want to give back to the next generation the visionary wisdom and knowledge that my professors at Claflin gave to me,” Pettus said.