<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Laquita Blockson
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"Elevator to Success" Propels Business Professor
By Toni Everly
"There's no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs." This is a motto that Dr. Laquita Blockson, an assistant professor of ethics and entrepreneurship, has demonstrated as a professor and scholar at the College of Charleston.

As a Cleveland, Ohio native, her parents encouraged and prepared her by ensuring that she received the best education.  "While my siblings and their friends would play their music instruments, play in the band or activities at school, or play games in the street, I was the one who had no problem staying in the house reading various books, playing board games or watching historical, educational or science programs on public television," Blockson says. "In common language, I was truly a nerd."

While finishing elementary school, she won a scholarship to attend a prestigious school; from the seventh through twelfth grades, she attended a private college preparatory school for girls. While growing up during the 1980s "wasn't the easiest transition" for a child growing up in an inner-city neighborhood in Ohio, she found a way to make it through the school. Blockson says, "It was a socio-economic challenge that I had to overcome, or manage and deal with, versus a racial one."

There was only a handful of blacks attending the all-girls preparatory school. Blockson says that there was "a true distinction between those who had and the have-nots." Despite the fact that she didn't have the luxury of buying clothes from places like Saks Fifth Avenue, she had a strong family and her passion for learning helped pave the way for her successes.

After completing high school, Blockson attended Florida A&M University, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Business Administration in 1992 and 1993, respectively. After spending some time in Corporate America, she went on to earn her doctorate in Strategy, Environment and Organizations from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002.

Currently, Blockson is involved in such organizations as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Girl Scouts of the USA, the Society of Business Ethics, and The PhD Project. She is particularly engaged with The PhD Project, a program that is successfully boosting the number of underrepresented minority business school professors in America.  She helped found The Management of Faculty of Color Association in 2001, an organization which focuses on providing professional and social support for underrepresented minority business faculty and doctoral students.

In the classroom, she has high expectations of her students. She requires them to read the business press and the New York Times, among other things. According to Blockson, students should earn good grades but not dismiss the learning. "Not every class is designed to be an easy class, where you can learn certain material, memorize concepts, take a test, and be happy," she says. "No, my classes are not designed that way. My classes are for juniors and seniors, who are expected to use their critical thinking skills to analyze situations and apply what they learned in previous courses."

The road towards success isn't easy. Therefore, as a scholar and professor, Blockson strives to incorporate her experiences in her discussions with students. When Blockson was an undergraduate student, her father once told her to "learn how to deal with failure at this point in your life now, versus when you leave college and are out in the world and it [failure] can really crush you." She tells her students to deal with their mistakes in college and to let their professors coach them.

On campus, Blockson has worked with a variety of organizations and faculty committees, including the Faculty Senate, the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities office, the African American Studies program, and the Multicultural Center, to name a few.

The director of the college's Multicultural Center, Teresa Smith, says: "Professor Blockson is one of the most giving faculty members at the College of Charleston. She's committed to her department, and even with a hectic schedule finds time to support events after hours. She's constantly working with other departments to provide opportunities for students. She has so many accomplishments from publishing many articles, assisting with student research, conducting a variety of research on various topics and has obtained grants. The list goes on and on. She's a dynamic young professional who has made a huge mark at CofC."

When it comes to success Blockson says, "I believe I've been successful not because I've earned a certain amount of money, a doctorate, and reached particular milestones, but because I've had the opportunity to use my skills, knowledge and good judgment to determine what would be a good opportunity to better myself personally and professionally."

"There's no elevator to success." Through growing up in a low-income neighborhood, Blockson has proven that it doesn't matter where you start in your life- you can make something out of nothing. You can strive for the best, accomplish many achievements, and make an imprint toward your future and the future of those around you.