Determination, Hard Work Describe Student's Life

May 24th, 2021

Hard work, late nights studying, and little free time have described Shiann Cupples' life since she graduated from Chester County High School in 2012.

With a job at Piggly Wiggly in Henderson, she paid her way through Jackson State Community College; she earned her two-year associate of science degree, graduating in May 2014. She continued working as she earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies at the University of Memphis, graduating in December 2015.

After earning her master's from Memphis in November 2020, she started her doctorate there in January. Her long-time goal: teach history at Jackson State.

These days, pursuing her doctorate and working full time as the pickup manager at the same Piggly Wiggly keeps her busy. "School and work take up all of my time," said the 26-year-old. "It's a lot to juggle. It feels like I have two full-time jobs."

Her journey to get her education took determination to keep going when others said she couldn't do it. She's been encouraged by her teachers, her boss, and her husband, Tyler.

She's happy she started her journey at Jackson State. "My professors wanted me to learn; they cared. I would definitely recommend Jackson State."

She didn't know what she wanted to do with a career, so she took a variety of classes at Jackson State. "It was a place where I could figure out who I was," she said.

By the time she had her bachelor's degree, she had decided she wanted to be a paralegal. But after working as a paralegal for a year, she said, "I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do, and I went back to my old job as a cashier at Piggly Wiggly in January 2017."

That's when her boss strongly encouraged her to go on to graduate school to find a career she liked. "I didn't know if I could do it," Cupples said. She decided it was a good time in her life to try.

She discovered a new passion in graduate school. "I love to write. I love to research. I want to be published someday." She graduated with a Master of Arts in history.

As a doctoral student, her special interest is mental health during colonial America.

And, though it may take her five to six years to get that doctorate, she's determined to finish. "I am excited to see where I can go with my life," Cupples said. "I would love to teach at Jackson State. It was such a great place for me to start college."

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