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Maxine Ford Chooses Faith Over Fear to Pursue her Passion for the Arts

December 2016

Maxine FordWhen her grandmother suggested she seek a degree in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics field instead of the arts, Maxine Ford, C’2019, stood her ground. “My grandmother is supportive, but she thinks it’s harder to make a living in drama,” said Ford, an Ethel Waddell Githii Honors student from Greenville, North Carolina.

“As a drama major and arts major in general, I feel that people don’t value the arts. But Spelman has taught me that you can’t be scared. Our campus is a world of empowerment. I’m also a woman of faith. I can’t choose something I don’t love because I want to make money.” In her quest for a career involving research and the arts, she’s become a champion for expanding arts programs in elementary schools.

This year she presented her research on the impact of theater education programs in public elementary schools at the National Association of African-American Honors Programs Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating from Spelman, she plans to attend graduate school to study breathing, voice and movement techniques, which she believes not only can benefit performers, but anyone dealing with stress. “I hope that my breathing research can come in handy to help single mothers,” Ford said.

“Because this is still a new field, there are still research questions that need to be answered, and that’s exciting to me.” When she’s faced discouraging moments, Andrea Irvin, C’2003, manager of community service in the Bonner Office of Civic Engagement, has helped her put life in perspective.

“She told me that people are not going to always support your dream. You’ve got to keep moving,” Ford said. “The world won’t change unless people choose to do something different.”

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