Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize

The Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize was first established in 2002 and was incorporated into the Change Create Transform Foundation in 2010. There are Promise Prize Scholars from various colleges and universities around the country. Created in memory of Marie-Nesbitt, students are selected by facuIty and staff at each school, based upon high scholastic achievement, outstanding character, and exceptional promise.  At The University of Iowa, the prize is administrated by African American Studies.

Marie NesbittMarie Nesbitt was bom on August 16, 1917, in Clearwater, Florida, and raised in Kingstree, South Carolina. A great-granddaughter of slaves, Nesbitt's formal education stopped at the third grade. Having lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras, Nesbitt was a woman of strong opinions and deeply held principles. She was a great inspiration to her family and to her friends. She taught and believed in everyone she touched to reach for the stars by doing their best, to trust in God, to stand up for what they believed in, and most of all, to never give up. The Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize is a tribute to an extraordinary woman and each Promise Prize Scholar is chosen to continue a tradition of excellence. The Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize at the University of Iowa is administrated by African American Studies.

Tiana Warner (2019)
Tiana is from Des Moines, Iowa. She is a sophomore majoring in African American Studies with a certificate in Non-Profit Management. She says African American Studies interests her because she is able to engage with history, culture and contemporary issues to gain important cultural knowledge. She plans to teach and also wants to be involved in nonprofit work. Tiana was interested in issues of social justice from a young age, specifically based on situations surrounding colorism in her family. She says because of her light skin she has been immune to certain struggles that other family and friends faced. She wants to use her educational accomplishments to improve opportunities for others.

Devin Francis (2018)
Devin is from Portand, Oregon.  She is a major in African American Studies with an American Sign Language minor and on a pre-law track.  She has been active in a number of organizations that encourage positive youth development such as Americorps, New Avenues for youth and the On-Iowa program. Devin has received awards for cultural excellence and leadership as well and he current goal is to complete law school with a focus on public law and policy.

Madison Upshaw (2017)
Madison was born in Gary Indiana, living there for 10 years until moving Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During internship at a local radio station, a radio DJ helped her understand that she needed create and cater to the environments she wanted to live in where ever she was.  So, she is studying English & Creative Writing at the University of Iowa in order to master her proficiency in poetry, song, and other forms of writing.  Madison wants to be prepared to follow her dreams traveling the world making music and performing poetry in her younger life; writing books, directing/writing films, hosting television/radio shows once she’s older.

Shelby Campbell (2017)
Shelby was born and raised in Los Angeles, California to an artistically-inclined family, a descent into the world of art was inevitable. Shelby began writing at a young age, an interest that sprang from her love for books and eventually lead to the self-publishing of my first novel at age thirteen. Writing eventually lead to filmmaking and filmmaking lead shortly into photography, so now she often finds herself juggling all three.  Shelby would like to foster the artistic growth of young people so they too may better channel their creative energies into success. Now going into her twentieth year, Shelby has confidently deemed 2017 "The Year of Doing."

Aja Witt (2016)
Aja is from Waterloo, Iowa. She is a double major in Journalism and African American Studies with a minor in Gender Women's Sexuality Studies.  She has worked as a journalist with KWWL TV Station, The Daily Iowan Newspaper, and DITV. She has also served as  volunteer at The Dream Center of Iowa City and the Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center. Aja is currently working on a graduate degree in the School of Journalism at the University of Iowa.

Rodnika Carter (2015)
undergraduate, African American Studies
Rodnika is a sophomore majoring in African American Studies and Pre- Law.  She volunteers with a number of organizations including: Table to Table, The Dream Center, and she was active with President Obama’s reelection campaign.  Rodnika is a member of Young, Black and Educated, the UI Chapter of the NAACP and she’s also a pen-pal mentor with the Trix Academy in Detroit, Michigan.

Kaché Claytor (2013)
undergraduate, Journalism & Mass Communication
Kache is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Spanish.  She is active in several organizations such as The Belin Blank Honors Scholar, the Iowa Talent Project, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and to top it all off, Kache is a volunteer with Spanish Buddies working with students each week at Grant Wood Elementary School.

Sylvea Hollis (2013)
graduate student, History
Graduate Student from Birmingham, Alabama – working on her Ph.D. in History, Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies.