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    Professor Regina R. Alston reflects on her time as a former NCCU student and her longevity as an employee. Photo by Brittany D. Cowan/ Echo Co-Editor-in-Chief.

NCCU alumna & professor celebrates educating generations

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North Carolina Central University has educated an array of doctors, lawyers, scientists, media professionals, and much more. Regina Alston, an English Instructor in the Department of Language and Literature, has been able to educate some of these students and many more.

Alston, who has been a professor at NCCU for 41 years, has had the opportunity to witness all that NCCU has to offer from not only a professor’s perspective but from a student’s perspective as well.

According to Alston, she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from NCCU and completed all the courses and passed all comprehensive exams in the Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (All But Dissertation).

“NCCU has impacted my life in a number of ways,” Alston said. “I was inspired by seeing people of color who were scholars and administrators.”

According to Alston, throughout her career, she has served on several professional boards and committees and was selected to score national examinations for the Educational Testing Service.  

For 25 years, Alston scored the Advanced Placement Exam in English Literature, the National Teachers’ Exam, the English Composition Test of the College Board, and many others. 

In addition, Alston has held positions as the Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), the Director of National and International Fellowships, and the Faculty Senate Secretary while she has been employed at NCCU.

Alston added that her membership in organizations such as NCCU’s Alpha Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and The Durham (NC) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated have been important in her life. 

Alston, the daughter of a World War II veteran and an educator, said that her parents impacted her the most throughout her life. Alston added how inspired she was by her parent’s accomplishments prior to Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled the racial segregation in public schools as being unconstitutional. 

Because of the many accomplishments that her parents had garnered, Alston emphasized how they instilled a strong work ethic into her and what she learned from her parents was frequently presented in her career as an educator. 

“I always remember that these are somebody’s children, and they have been entrusted to us for their career preparation, but also for their preparation for Life 101,” Alston said. “That means going the extra mile, and I give 110% for that reason.” 

According to Alston, her diligence and strong work ethic as an educator have helped her become much more impactful in the lives of her students. One of which is her former student NCCU junior and Music major Dexter Moses. 

“Outside of the music department, Professor Alston was the first teacher that actually cared about my well-being and spiritual development as a human being,” Moses said. “She helped me become more confident about my musical gifts and personality.”

Moses, who had Alston as a professor during his freshman year, added that Alston’s “positive energy” modeled the same feeling that he had when attending her class. 

“She understood that I was genuinely excited about her class, and she gave back the same positive energy,” Moses emphasized. 

Moses concluded by emphasizing Alston’s selfless character and the respect that she has earned as an educator. 

“Professor Alston is a perfect example of selflessness, especially towards her students,” Moses said. “Students and faculty alike respect her and what she is willing to do for her students.”

NCCU Associate Professor of Marketing Deirdre Guion Peoples is a colleague and friend of Alston. Guion Peoples shared that Alston’s “wisdom of vision” was one of the ways that made her perspective on situations “refreshing.” 

Professor Alston is the same kind, considerate, smart person in a professional setting that she is in a personal setting,” Guion Peoples said. I think her biggest impact on me has been her sense of perspective, and her perspective is always refreshing.”

Guion Peoples also reflected on the attributes of Alston’s personality that impacted her in a personal and professional manner. 

Personally and professionally, I so appreciate her pleasant demeanor and her warm genuine smile,” Guion Peoples said. “Beneath that pleasant, calm demeanor, is a sharp, funny lady!”

Alston explained how her best weapon is how people often underestimate her. Alston also described her life as being her “message” because of the circumstances and obstacles that she has lived through. 

“My life is my message,” Alston concluded. “I strive every day to give my best in the way I think, look, and act.”

Alston concluded by emphasizing how much she values NCCU as an educational institution, and that she continues to teach because of the genuine love and support that she has for her students.

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