Spotlight of The Month for April 2021: Dr. Tameka Ellington

“Figure out how you can revolutionize the way you think.”

Dr. Tameka Ellington is our Spotlight of the Month for April 2021. Tameka is an Associate Professor of Fashion and Assistant Dean for the College of the Arts at Kent State University. She became the first person in her family to graduate from college when she earned her B.A. in Fashion Design at Kent State University. Following her calling to be an educator-led her to earn her Master’s degree from Michigan State University and ultimately return to Kent State to pursue her doctorate.

Tameka became a part of the St. Agnes-Our Lady of Fatima Church in 2005, around the same time that she became a part-time instructor at Kent State University. Since then, she has worked her way up through the ranks and became the university’s first Black professor in the School of Fashion in 2012. Throughout her career, Tameka’s inspiration has come from her desire to empower people around her. Pursuing her Ph.D. and her passion for education was the best way that she envisioned being able to empower her family members who look to her as a role model and exemplary woman. “Everything that I’ve done is really about empowering myself and my family and to leave a legacy for my children.” Also, as a first-generation college graduate, she is incredibly determined to empower first-generation college students and young professionals. Her dissertation is also focused on empowering young African American girls in high school and studying how dress and self-efficacy are related to their academic achievement and future goals.

Tameka considers herself a very spiritual person. Being well connected with her spirit and intuition and her selfless, giving nature has helped her overcome times of adversity in the past. “When things got hard for me, it was always important to remember what I was doing was much bigger than me.” In difficult times, she remembers what brought her here, to be a vessel for God’s love and his word. And that it is her duty to use her God-given gifts to uplift those around her. 

This same mindset has led her to a career change as she pursues her entrepreneurial endeavors, which include motivational speaking and writing books full time. With her business, First Generation Revolutionaries, she feels that she can reach more people as she steps outside the classroom to an even bigger audience. “If I become a speaker full time, I can go around the world inspiring millions of people.” In addition to several journal articles, she has also published two books, Make Fear Your Superpower and Be the GOAT, available on Amazon.

Her words of encouragement are to “Figure out how you can revolutionize the way you think. When we learn things in a certain way, it becomes a pattern. Sometimes those patterns may become bad habits that we learn, and those bad habits can keep us stagnant. If we can revolutionize how we think, life can be a lot different.” She also suggests to “be open-minded and not be afraid to think outside the norm,” which can really help you to “move beyond your initial family blueprint.”