UT Dallas Staffer Published in Book for First Lady

Feb. 4, 2009

Cornelia McCowan, project supervisor for the UT Dallas Academic Bridge Program, has been published in a book of letters, prayers and poems that more than 100 women have written for the new first lady.

The book, Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady, is a compilation of letters, poems, prayers and even recipes for Michelle Obama.

African-American women from all over the country were encouraged to write letters of advice, poems, prayers or whatever else they wished to encourage Michelle Obama as she undertakes her new role.

McCowan, who was inspired by Michelle Obama’s dedication to her family and her personal strength throughout the campaign, wrote a poem as a tribute to Michelle to show that she is a role model for young women all across the world. McCowan submitted her poem to one of the book’s editors, Barbara Seals Nevergold, and received a reply saying that her poem had been selected.

When a copy of the finished book arrived, “I was so excited that I was fighting back tears,” McCowan said.

She tells her students that the book shows anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

 “We always encourage our students to take advantage of opportunities, and this will serve as a testament to the students that anything is possible,” McCowan said. “Always remember to embrace opportunity. You never know where it will take you,” she said.

McCowan said that she spent an entire day gathering her thoughts for the poem and drew from a poetry workshop that Jonathan “GNO” White, the assistant director of student activities, put on for high school students involved in the Academic Internship Program.

The book itself was commissioned, compiled, edited and published by Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram of the University of Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY). The book contains advice not only for Michelle Obama but also for young women across the country that are struggling to balance life, work and family.

Nevergold and Brooks-Bertram are co-founders of the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women at SUNY. They hope to bring the women from all over the globe that were published in this book together in a forum to exchange ideas about the role of women in the country.

The expediency with which this book was published is a testament to how seriously these women approached this project. The call for contributors went out in mid-November, and the book was sent off to be published by the end of December. The book hit shelves everywhere on January 16, 2009, four days before the Presidential Inauguration.


Media Contacts: Taylor Buttler, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Cornelia McCowan

Cornelia McCowan wrote a poem as a tribute to Michelle Obama to show that she is a role model for young women all across the world. (Photo by David Herman, Jr.)

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