May 20, 2010

Tameca Robertson ’99 never considered SMU as a possibility in her college plans. In fact, she tossed unsolicited letters from the University into her “No“ pile after she saw the words “Southern” and “Methodist” and “Dallas.”


Tameca Robertson ’99, a systems engineer with JCPenney.

An African-American high school senior living in Romulus, Michigan (near Detroit), Robertson says she was considering northern universities. But on a visit to a relative in Houston, she made a side trip to campus. A meeting with an assistant dean of engineering helped her appreciate SMU’s special qualities, and an offer of a President’s Scholarship helped cement her decision to attend SMU.

The electrical engineering major worked in the Lyle School of Engineering’s minority co-op program to help pay expenses not covered by her full-tuition President’s Scholarship. During her senior year she completed a yearlong internship with JCPenney before joining the company after college.

Robertson, now a systems engineer with the Directory Services team in JCPenney’s Information Technology Department, has “grown up” professionally with the retail giant. She recently completed her 14th year with the company. And though technologies and computer languages have changed multiple times over the course of her career, Robertson says, “I don’t get intimidated because the underlying analytical skills and ability to learn new languages and technologies were ingrained in me through my SMU education and my work experience.“

She also has used that adaptability in her second career as a minister (she was ordained in 2005), particularly on a group mission trip in 2007 to speak at a series of women’s conferences in Uganda. Although she had prepared lessons for Christian college students in Uganda, she found she had been assigned to work with youth starting at age 11.

“I had to wing it, and that is so uncomfortable for me because I always review the material and prepare bullet points when speaking before a group,” she says.

Robertson will return to Uganda this summer. “Who knows, this time I may
minister to a different age group once again. I have a heart for young people and women who need help and support.”
– Susan White

Read more about scholarships

Great Expectations
Rachel Kittrell: Opening Doors To New Possibilities
Daniel Sanabria: Indescribable Changes, Immeasurable Dividends
Alaa Al-Barghuthi: The Investment Of A Lifetime
Andrea Norris Kline ’08: Making Her Mark On History
Scott Krouse ’03: The World Is His Office
The Donor Difference