Cassie Williams Embraces Her Busy Life Both On, Off Campus

Published Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Cassie Williams
Cassie Williams

"I am a mother, wife, and educator who is determined to pursue my passion for writing in the midst of living a multifaceted life," is the way Cassie J. Williams describes herself and her work as a wife, mother, poet and SMSU Academic Support Specialist. Although busy, she passionately pursues the many opportunities with which she has been blessed, both personally and professionally.

Williams graduated with a Creative Writing degree from SMSU in 2007 and later completed her Master's in Education with an English emphasis. Williams and her husband, Adam, have two boys and two girls, ages 8, 6, 3, and 2, and live in the Marshall area. Although her job and her writing pull her in many directions, she desires to be the best role model she can be for her children. “They watch every move that I make, and I try to lead by example,” Williams says. Although motherhood has been “inspiring and rewarding,” Williams gives credit to her husband, who is her “number one fan. He is an amazing husband and father, which puts me at ease when work gets demanding.”

Williams is currently on SMSU's campus working in the Access, Opportunity, Success office. However, she has always worked with children and community programs. "I love to work with young people. It is rewarding to see them reach their goals, to identify their skills, their gifts and their strengths and to overcome any obstacles that get in their way," she said.

Her role at SMSU allows her to help students while planning and coordinating diversity programs on campus, developing programming for the Access, Opportunity, Success Living and Learning Community, organizing and scheduling peer tutoring and creating opportunities for the nearly 200 students her department works with.

The dynamics of the Living and Learning Community allows students to build relationships with peers before the semester begins due to the Summer Bridge program. These students also create a sense of belonging through their similar course schedules, and tutors are available to help them in any course where they may struggle.  “It takes every department on campus working together to meet the needs of students and to make sure they are successful,” Williams said. 

 “I want students to be aware of their own strengths, and I help them overcome personal and academic hurdles,” she said. She is proud of the relationships she has built with students, colleagues and community members and she is reassured by all the good she sees in others.  “I want students to feel safe, to know I will be there for them regardless of their obstacles and to know I will always be honest,” Williams said. She smiles as she continues, “Whenever they visit, I ask if they want me to listen or to tell them the truth.” 

Williams realizes the personal struggles her students face and believes the SMSU campus must “stand together and boldly address issues of racism, discrimination, and any inequalities that could intervene with the mission of the university.”

Besides the Access, Opportunity, Success programming she coordinates, another important event Williams plans is the Martin Luther King Jr. Week of Service, where SMSU and the Marshall community and schools work together to promote activities encouraging diversity and unity. The main event is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast where there are keynote speakers and entertainment. The week also consists of a Food4Kids packing event where the SMSU and Marshall community members pack lunches for Marshall students. Since Williams works with underrepresented and low-income students, this packing event is an important extension to what she does on campus.

Williams’ is fortunate to work with Marshall community members through her work with the MLK week of service and her role on the Healthy56258 committee. These experiences have provided Williams with other opportunities and made her feel a part of the Marshall community.

SMSU and the Marshall community work together on many events throughout the year. Williams feels that Marshall and SMSU are both becoming more diverse. Therefore, she works hard to “ensure the programs on campus represent all people.” Williams admits, however, there is still work to be done. 

Williams encourages all students to become the change they want to see. She understands that  “we are all responsible for creating an environment that every student can thrive and excel.  Everyone that steps foot on this campus should feel that they are an essential part of the university and the community at large.”

Along with her role as wife, mother and educator, she also loves to write. Her writing represents the hustle and bustle of her life. It honestly represents the balance of work and family, of success, and of struggles. Williams hopes her writing captures “the many layers of being a woman, a poet, an American and an African American.” Her Instagram page, Poetessunbound, revitalized her writing and she wants to keep going, to keep writing and to keep inspiring those who follow, watch, support and encourage her through her page.

Williams is blessed with a supportive family and network of friends who allow her to chase her dreams. “I would encourage students to attain a network of individuals who are loyal, supportive and who genuinely want them to be successful.  More importantly, they should believe in themselves and their own abilities and gifts. So often we are our own biggest obstacle,” Williams states.

Regardless of which role Williams plays, she admits, “the people in my village is how I am able to balance it all. I am blessed to be surrounded by individuals who encourage, support and believe in my vision, so I can be my authentic self.”