MSU’s Cutts Givens receives national Lillian E. Smith Writer-In-Service Award

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Photo of Dr. Cutts Givens on the Drill Field

Contact: Bethany Shipp

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Qiana Cutts Givens, a Mississippi State associate professor of educational foundations, is the recipient of the prestigious 2024 Lillian E. Smith Writer-In-Service Award.

Housed at Piedmont University in Georgia, the Lillian E. Smith Center annually bestows the award in honor of civil rights advocate and esteemed author Lillian E. Smith, whose body of work includes “Strange Fruit” and “Killers of the Dream.” The award, which includes a two-week residency in July and an honorarium, is open to U.S. residents advancing writing through volunteer work or public service careers.

During her residency at the center in Clayton, Georgia, Cutts Givens will write a manuscript focused on the girlhood and creative artistry of rural Black girls.

“I am honored to be acknowledged by the Lillian E. Smith Center,” she said. “Smith’s legacy of supporting girls through the Laurel Falls Camp for Girls and of advocating for social justice and racial equality align well with my research promoting equity, opportunity and access for those often excluded from educational experiences of excellence. I look forward to the residency and drafting my manuscript centering rural Black girls. I also am sincerely grateful to the Lillian E. Smith Center, the reviewers and Mississippi State University for supporting my endeavors.”

Cutts Givens holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of West Alabama. She earned her doctorate in educational policy studies from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Argosy University. A recipient of multiple grants, Cutts Givens’ research expertise spans Black/hip-hop feminism, Black women and girls, critical media literacy and other topics.

“Dr. Cutts Givens’ recognition with the Lillian E. Smith Writer-In-Service Award is a testament to her exceptional commitment to illuminating the stories and lives that echo the essence of Smith’s legacy,” said Daniel Gadke, College of Education associate dean of research, professor and Department of Counseling, Higher Education Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations head. “We are immensely proud of her work and the spotlight it shines on the importance of equity and access in education. This recognition is a testament to the impactful scholarship and creative expression thriving at Mississippi State’s College of Education.”

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