The 2018 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of our first Black students enrolling at Converse College. Throughout the year we are reflecting on the courage of these women, our heritage and growth, as well as the work still ahead of us. This is the fourth in a series featuring our alumnae.
By Courtney Hammett ‘19
Biochemistry major Eniece Baines ’20 first met alumna Angela Stinson-Adams ’82 after a panel discussion at Converse College, celebrating Black alumnae in February 2018. Another alumna told Eniece, “there’s someone you have to meet.” That “someone” was Angela Stinson-Adams and she changed Eniece’s life when she offered her a paid internship on the spot. “I almost fainted,” Eniece admits. “It didn’t seem real; it seems like one of those Hallmark movies.”
The summer internship was in Atlanta, where Eniece could only afford about two weeks of lodging. To cross this final hurdle, she was offered a place to stay by her co-worker, “Ms. B,” who also helped her explore the city.
The internship focused on quality control for biomedical polymers – such as dissolving surgery stitches. “I got to meet a lot of great, interesting people,” Eniece raved. “I learned so much.” Working with medical products taught her to be “very precise.” Throughout the internship, Eniece was under the guidance of Ms. B, April Nelson, and Angela Stinson-Adams herself. She got a look at the “big machines” of the medical industry.
When the summer drew to an end, Eniece’s coworkers threw a surprise party and she was asked to consider returning the following summer. They sent Eniece back to Converse with school supplies and food, for both her and her son. Eniece’s son, the “love of her life”, is now two and a half years old.
As a young mother pursuing a degree, this internship truly opened doors that may not have been possible otherwise
As a young mother pursuing a degree, this internship truly opened doors that may not have been possible otherwise. Eniece says she doesn’t know what she would’ve done without the opportunity. The guidance of her three mentors inspired her to say, “I want to be just like them.” Eniece is grateful for the friends who have eased the burden of attending school away from her son, and for the chance that Mrs. Stinson-Adams took on her.
A first-generation college student, Angela Stinson-Adams understands the value of education. As early as age five, she dreamed of attending college to become a scientist. Coming from Columbus, Georgia, she had never visited Converse before move-in day. Though one of a small and recent minority of Black students at Converse, she found adjustment fairly easy, having been part of integration since the sixth grade. Under the guidance of great professors like Dr. Howell, she gained the skills that made her a scientist. Stinson-Adams urges Converse students to find their place in the community and give back however possible. She says, “don’t be afraid to try things.”
Don’t be afraid to try things.
Converse’s Celebrating Courage series has united students and alumnae separated by decades and laid the groundwork for students and alumnae, like Eniece Banes and Angela Stinson-Adams, to change each others’ lives.