Q&A with Solomon Lowery
Born and raised in Carrabelle, Fla., alumnus Solomon J. Lowery, Ed.D., joined the Army right out of high school, serving two years of active duty and four years in the Reserve. Lowery went on to pursue his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in 2003 as a student-athlete. After graduating, he relocated to St. Petersburg, Fla., where he continued his pursuit of academic excellence. Shortly after entering the field of education he embraced the expectation to do more. He has served his community in a variety of civic, social, and academic endeavors towards enhancing the overall quality of life and opportunities afforded to others. Lowery has been blessed with a beautiful wife, Denita Lowery, and four adorable children, Simone, Sierra, Solomon Jr., and Sakai. Lowery and his wife are strong and supportive parents to their children and those they serve throughout the community. They have a plethora of diverse experiences and currently work within the Pinellas County School System where Lowery serves as principal of Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School.
Join us in a Q&A as we follow Lowery’s FAMU journey to success:
What influenced you in deciding to attend FAMU and in choosing your major?
The close-to-home and family atmosphere that FAMU fostered convinced me early on that this is where I wanted to attend college. While at Carrabelle High School, I was a member of [FAMU’s ]Black Male College Explorer Program where Tommy Mitchell and Adel Manatee really embraced and nurtured me as a young man. FAMU was my home away from home.
I majored in criminal justice because I saw a need to inform others of the decision-making within our criminal justice system. While working in the criminal justice system, I became rather frustrated with seeing individuals who looked just like me on the opposite side of the bars. My caseload list overflowed with young Black males who had committed various crimes and violations. I felt that as a young African-American male myself, it was my civic responsibility to do something to make a difference in these men’s lives. By the time I encountered them within the criminal justice system, it was almost too late to positively assist many of them. I then decided to volunteer in the school during my internships with the criminal justice program. I worked with many local schools including FAMU DRS. Once I graduated and started my career, I continued to volunteer and work within the community. I loved working in the school atmosphere. For many years, people would say to me that education is my calling and no matter how hard I fought against that idea, I was still drawn to helping the youth. I made the decision to get my teaching credentials from the University of South Florida and went on to pursue my master’s and doctorate degrees in education leadership from National Louis University and Argosy University.
What advice do you have for incoming students today?
Take advantage of every opportunity afforded to you. You have to take life by the horns and engage yourself in education. You must take it seriously in order to reach your fullest potential.
What was your favorite course at FAMU and why?
I actually remember two courses that were my favorite for different reasons. One course was my freshman experience class, which was very beneficial to me because it provided an opportunity to create a network with my peers and share the college experience of being a new student at Florida A&M University. The other course was my criminal justice research methods class that I took with professor Felicia Dix-Richardson, Ph.D. She was very competent and took her job seriously. Professor Dix-Richardson not only challenged me academically but mentally and philosophically as well. She also provided the guidance I needed to master the content of the course. In addition, she always inspired me and kept pushing me to do more than settling for what is required. She encouraged her students to get out in the field and immerse themselves by conducting research, as well as reading and learning more about the criminal justice and legal policies that are set in place.
What was your best memory of FAMU?
My best memory of FAMU is that it fostered a real sense of community and a great sense of pride of being a Rattler. The overall atmosphere on campus gave students a deep admiration for our people and engrained a mission to continue to pursue opportunities to make a change for our community as a whole.
What is your personal mission statement?
My mission is to work collaboratively with the school, community, and students to promote a safe learning environment for all while promoting citizenship and lifelong learning.