Double Up Campaign - McKayla & Mckenzie Stokes

February 24, 2014

One major is good; two are better.  Double majoring with African American Studies at VCU can enhance a student’s success in their career and in graduate school.  Just ask McKayla and McKenzie Stokes, freshmen twins double majoring in African American Studies.

The twins, who graduated from high school in Fredericksburg after the family’s move to Virginia, say that VCU’s urban campus and competitive program attracted them to the university.  “Within moments of pulling onto Monroe Park, I was infatuated with the urban atmosphere and the distinct beauty that Richmond had to offer,” says McKenzie Stokes.  She adds, “I participated in a campus tour led by a student, and her general enthusiasm and overall respect for the university spoke volumes.  It only took one visit for me to completely fall in love with all VCU had to offer.  Her sister, McKayla Stokes, agrees and says that in addition to the urban environment and prestigious programs, the diversity on campus attracted the twins to VCU.

Double majoring in African American Studies has enhanced their academic training and made them more competitive in their chosen career path, the twins say.  The decision was personal and career related.  McKayla says, “I feel that double-majoring in African American Studies will help me grow as a biracial woman and professional.  I believe it is important to understand what African Americans have accomplished, the difficulties that continue today, and how to prepare for the future.” 

The twins offer good advice to those considering a major in African American Studies.  McKayla says, “Do your homework.  Many people overlook the fact that a degree in African American Studies has the ability to enhance your resume tremendously.  I would advise anyone interested to talk to advisers in the Department of African American Studies, current AFAM majors, and conduct research of their own.” 

McKayla already has made plans to put her double major in Criminal Justice and African American Studies to good use: “I plan to be a lawyer, and a degree in African American Studies will provide me with a strong foundation to effectively represent and understand the conditions of those disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system.”  Moreover, she says, “The major includes [a variety of] concentrations, which is very convenient as well.”  McKenzie seconds this opinion, “Don’t let the idea of a ‘double major’ drive you away from experiences and opportunities that could better you not only as a student, but also as a person as well.”

Dr. Awendela Grantham contributed to this story. Dr. Grantham received her Ph.D. in French and African American Studies from Yale University.