Senior Iman Adams finds a home at the university



Adams graduating from Groote Schuur High School in 2015 with several years’ worth of academic and athletic achievements under her belt, Iman Adams attended Ranger College, a junior college located in Ranger, Texas, which allowed her to continue her golf career as a college student. After arriving at Alabama State University, she holds a deeper appreciation for the constructive culture.

Camille Zanders, Alumni Connection Editor

Over 40 countries are represented through the many international students that currently grace the campus of Alabama State University. Considering that leaving home for school would be a major adjustment for any student, the discomfort is maximized in these traveling students by the many miles separating them from their families. Fortunately for some, this conflict is eased by the comforting community and family-like environment present at the Hornet’s Nest. Iman Adams, a graduating senior completing her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, is extremely thankful for those qualities of the university, as it has allowed her to find a home away from home.
“It is difficult being away from my family, but ASU has been so welcoming,” she said. “The students, the faculty, everyone has just been so understanding and supportive.”
Adams originates from Cape Town, South Africa, the nation’s most notable industrial center and capital city. She is the daughter of Shariefa and Salie Adams, who provided early exposure to her life’s passion. Adams was introduced to the game of golf at ten years old by her father who also plays. Now, 14 years later, she appreciates her time spent maturing as a person while simultaneously maturing in the game.
“You can hit a good shot but get a bad break from it, or you could hit a bad shot and get good breaks from it,” she said. “That is basically what life is about to me…It is an individual sport, so you get to learn a lot about yourself at the same time.”
Adams graduated from Groote Schuur High School in 2015 with several years’ worth of academic and athletic achievements under her belt. Following her graduation, she attended Ranger College, a junior college located in Ranger, Texas, which allowed her to continue her golf career as a college student. This two-year institution hosted many international student-athletes who needed an accommodating transition from their home culture to the demands of a Division I four-year university. Despite the widely diverse student population, Adams describes her experience to have been filled with judgment and microaggressions. Because of this unpleasant time, she holds a deeper appreciation for the constructive culture of ASU.
“They were judgmental when it came to foreigners so obviously coming [to ASU] has been much different,” she said. “You all are more accepting of me. I am South African, even though my skin color does not show it, so I like that sense of family and community. And that is exactly what I got here.”
Adams transferred to ASU in the fall of 2020 as a promising addition to the women’s golf team. Though she did not know what to expect from HBCU culture, or what it would expect of her, she found that the Hornet Nation welcomed her with open arms.
As she holds aspirations to become a coach for the sport that she loves, Adams chose to study interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in psychology and athletic coaching. As the degree forces its students to think critically across various fields and industries, her studies will allow her to accommodate the varying perspectives and personalities of the athletes she will soon coach.
Quincy Heard, head coach of the ASU women’s golf team, fully supports Adams’ efforts to enter the realm of coaching. Not only has he been impressed with the elevation of Adams’ game, but also with her leadership qualities exhibited through her interaction with her teammates. Because of her enthusiasm and his influence, the two have developed a strong relationship that has already begun to open the door to her dream career. Adams will begin her position as the student-assistant coach of the ASU women’s golf team in the fall of 2022 as well as the master of education in the physical education program.
Outside of athletics, Adams continues to value the HBCU experience that ASU offers to its students. From the food to the clothing and customs, she has seen the many angles that the African American experience can take. She especially appreciates the presence of Greek life in the university culture, as they pride themselves on the strength of sister and brotherhood.
“We do not do that back home, so I enjoy going to probates, watching the strolling, and all of that,” Adams said. “It is a sense of community. I want to say, family. ASU is really like a family.”
She also has witnessed the struggles and strife faced by African Americans nationwide. As she possesses a third-party perspective, she is deeply upset by the effects of the conflict.
“We do not learn much about it at home,” she said regarding the racial conflicts within the United States. “We hear about things, but it is very similar to what happened in South Africa with apartheid and segregation. I cannot say that we have moved passed it at home, but it is happening here too and that is very sad.”
Adams has also gained new perspectives from the curriculum taught. As she is an interdisciplinary studies major, she has been encouraged to see and appreciate the varying sides of the varying industries. She especially cherishes her multi-cultural psychology course taught by Professor Kizito Okeke, Ph.D., as it has applied to many of her experiences.
“I come from a multicultural background,” she said. “Coming from a different country and moving here, I have experienced lots of different cultures… [The class] gave a lot of food information and I got a good perspective on life.”
Though she has enjoyed her stay, she explains that it has been far from perfect. The root of many of Adams’ issues on campus has been the lack of communication between the athletic department, faculty, and administration. While it is already too much to manage one’s daily schedule as a student-athlete, she shares that they often face repercussions due to the miscoordination of the directors. She has often been reprimanded and falsely accused of missing class or programs due to traveling as an athlete, this being a conflict that should be discussed and settled beforehand.
She also notes the unequal appreciation of the various countries and cultures represented by the current international students. While she supports any minority celebration taking place, she reports feelings of ostracization as South African dishes are not served on the cafe’s multicultural days and more.
“We are not the first South Africans to be here so you would have thought there would be some kind of recognition,” Adams said. “Because they did for all of the countries, but not South Africa.”
She reassures that these issues are only minor disturbances to an overall positive experience.
“There are little things that go on around campus that I might not be aware of,” she said. “I would not say that the school is unfair in any type of way, but communication is the major problem that I have seen.”
Above all moments, high and low, Adams’ most notable Hornet memory was winning the second-place title in the Southwestern Athletic conference with the women’s golf team. Finishing the tournament at 102-over par 966, the women on the team fulfilled their personal goals and dreams. Adams respects this occasion so deeply considering she battled injuries, due to nerve damage, to defend her position and addition to the team.
“The pain has subsided, and the tremors have subsided, but it is still there even though it is dull,” she said. “So, I am taking it easy and have been doing a lot of training for it. It was so hard to be on the team because there were so many girls, so winning the SWAC was like the cherry on top of all of it.”
She hopes to continue to make these lasting memories as she serves as the assistant coach in the upcoming season. While some alumni would prefer to give back to their alma mater monetarily, she is excited to do so through her passionate service. This opportunity will provide the connections and hands-on interaction with the peers that she adores so deeply.
“I like to lift other people and I like to motivate my teammates,” she said. “Whether I am playing bad or not, I will always say ‘You can do it.’ Or ‘I believe in you.’ I am just that type of person.’”
Adams has successfully created lifelong connections, friendships, and memories as a member of Hornet Nation. She advises international students hoping to do the same to properly research their options before committing to a particular school as that is the best way to be pre-exposed to the campus’ culture and values. As she recognizes the rich history and community of ASU, she knows that there is no better place to be.
“It is important to know what you are coming into culture-wise,” she said. “Each person is different and has their own experiences. But I can definitely say that I have had a great time at ASU!”