Trakela Wright fights through pain to complete her goals

Southern University’s Trakela Wright spent the past summer working at the United States Department of Agriculture in Maryland and soon will be attending the Thurgood Marshall Fund 2012 Leadership Institute in New York.


Wright, an Urban Forestry graduate student, worked at the USDA office in Riverdale, Md., creating databases for exotic corn pest, working with ePermits, a web-based system used to apply for permits online, and assisting people applying to bring exotic pests or weeds into the United States.


The 29-year-old describes the experience as a “blessing” to be able to explore oneself and those around her. “It has broadened my horizon,” said Wright.


Wright will put her networking skills to the test in New York when she attends the invitation-only Leadership Institute in October. The Thurgood Marshall Fund selects top Historically Black Colleges and Universities candidates to participate in the event.

From October 24-30 she will be taught leadership training, career management,  life skills and development, and receive job recruitment opportunities from some of the nation’s top executives.

The Greenville, Miss., native credits her department advisor Dr. Namwamba Fulbert, an associate professor in Urban Forestry and the SU’s Office of Career Services for her internship opportunities.

“Career Services has helped me professionally by teaching me how to prepare my résumé, bringing job fairs to the campus and monitoring job opportunities away from the campus,” said Wright.


After registering for Jobs4Jags the internship and conferences were made available immediately. The Jobs4Jags allows students to set up online accounts to connect with companies seeking employees.


Wright not only manages internships, traveling to conferences and working on her thesis, but has also managed the pain associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus for 17 years.  “It is a challenge, but my down days are my best days because the push to get up takes my mind off the pain,” said Wright.


Wright worked for 10 years at the American Radiation Service Corporation in Port Allen, La., before realizing she wanted more. She dropped everything and return to school.

She will graduate in December but is trying to decide whether to continue her education at SU and seek a doctorate in Urban Forestry or seeking employment on the East Coast.

Wright encourages other students to “challenge yourself to complete your goals and don’t back pedal. Always have a plan A, B and C. And, try something new.”  

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