news-category: Juneteenth Gardner-Webb Alumna Celebrates Accomplishments of Early Black Leaders By Office of University Communications On June 12, 2023 Gardner-Webb alumna Tyra Montour, center, represented the Black Graduate Student Organization on a panel for Graduate Student Orientation at Texas A&M University in College Station. Tyra Montour, ’16, Pursues Doctorate to Tackle Health Disparities and Advocate for Vulnerable Populations “The observance of Juneteenth is about the journey and achievement of African Americans—from a horrific period of sanctioned enslavement to the pinnacle of human endeavors. It is a story of pride, resilience and determination that will always be of historical and spiritual importance—as it serves us well to understand that together, we can overcome all obstacles in our path.” — Juneteenth.com As a young Black American, Tyra Montour honors the history and accomplishments of early African Americans—who finally received the news of their freedom on June 19, 1865—the date now celebrated annually as Juneteenth. A 2016 GWU alumna, Montour received her bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies. Gardner-Webb alumna Tyra Montour, center, represented the Black Graduate Student Organization on a panel for Graduate Student Orientation at Texas A&M University in College Station. She is thankful for her rich heritage and the example of her ancestors. “I saw a post a few years ago that said, ‘It is important to celebrate Black people, those who have made a path out of their paths and brought their own seat to the table,’ and that stuck with me,” Montour stated. “Today, we can’t let that history get lost, it’s essential that we teach about the importance, impact, and contributions of Black history and culture on a national, global and local scale.” While working for a public relations agency in Atlanta, Ga., Montour learned about issues related to public health, such as equity and disparities. She was so moved about what she discovered that she decided to go back to school. She was accepted into the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta and earned her Master of Public Health. Montour will complete her Ph.D. in health education in December 2023 at Texas A&M University in College Station. She is a graduate assistant in the Community Health Evaluation & Systems Science lab and the Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research (TCHER pronounced TEACHER). The Center’s goal is to improve quality of life across the lifespan among at-risk populations globally. “I am in my third year now, done with coursework, diving into more research and writing and expected to graduate in December 2023,” Montour noted. “Following graduation, I want to work in the public health industry as a health communications specialist and advocate for improving the lives and communications with vulnerable populations.” Additional Juneteenth resources: The Smithsonian: Juneteenth – Senses of Freedom: Exploring the Tastes, Sounds and Experiences of an African American Celebration. Junteenth Foundation – A non-profit organized by a group of professionals championing the celebration of Juneteenth Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu. Gardner-Webb alumna Tyra Montour, center, represented the Black Graduate Student Organization on a panel for Graduate Student Orientation at Texas A&M University in College Station.