GSU’s Dr. Nikole Roebuck Joins Elite Women Group Leaders Club

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When the world-renowned Grambling State University (GSU) Tigers Marching Band takes to the field on Saturday for the State Fair Classic in Dallas, many will see something they’ve never seen before – a female band manager!

Dr. Nikole Roebuck knows she’s part of an elite club, especially at the college level, and she goes about her business with a smile and a determination that comes from leading one of the best marching bands around. in the world.

Roebuck has the distinction of being one of only four to serve as a group principal at a historically black college and university (HBCU).

Clark Atlanta University’s Tomisha Brock and Mississippi Valley State University’s Dr. Kerry Anne Simon, who were appointed in 2017 and early 2019, hosted Roebuck later in 2019.

In November 2019, Roebuck and Simon made Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) history as two female-led HBCU groups performed for the first time. Roebuck and Simon are two of HBCU’s four active female directors – Juliet Boykins of Elizabeth City State and Fayesha Cousins ​​of Virginia Union are the other two.

Roebuck chairs the University’s music department, in addition to leading the band and under her leadership, Grambling also in 2021 named its first female drum major in over 70 years. According to GSU historians, Velma Patricia Patterson served until 1952.

A graduate of Grambling State University, Roebuck still remembers her days in the band and attending band camps. There were long nights and intense sessions that helped develop work ethic and build character; while earning friendships that last a lifetime.

Roebuck also says she realizes that today’s students are somewhat “different” with “different” ways of processing information and following instruction.

Her goal, she said in a recent interview with Texas Metro News, has been to adapt and pivot to ensure the group experience is just as rewarding for students today as it is. It was for her when she entered training with the Marching Tigers.

Coming from the small Louisiana town of Minden, located 28 miles east of Shreveport and about 37 miles west of Grambling, Roebuck traveled widely and seized the opportunity to represent his alma mater and assume the position of director.

Grambling State University is a place where she not only met her future husband and pledged her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta; but it’s also where she paraded in the band, then returned to teach and serve as the band’s assistant manager.

A graduate of the GSU Music Education Program, she received her Masters of Music from the University of Louisiana-Monroe in 2005 and her Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education from the University of Memphis in 2009. And as someone who has achieved academic excellence, Roebuck shares her journey with students as she encourages them to take advantage of every opportunity to improve themselves and help others.
GSU is known for doing the same for students who aren’t athletes and those student-athletes because, she said, “Grambling is a school where everybody’s somebody.

Realizing that band members need to feel valued, she explained that when they go out to perform anywhere, it’s because they’re students first and need to perform in class to keep their scholarships and play in the group. .

The band’s motto is “Always on time, in the right frame of mind and ready to go to work,” Roebuck said, adding that being part of the band helps separate the “strong from the weak.”

She also built lifelong relationships and being in the band taught her time management. “I have friends now, 26 years later, and it’s like we’re sisters.”

According to Roebuck, in addition to assigning a tutor to each band member, other measures are taken to ensure student success.

When on the road, a nurse practitioner, coach and sports psychologist are part of the group.

“I want to have a positive impact on every student,” she explained, noting that in instilling these traits in the students who were instilled in her, she must realize that there are clear distinctions. I think the teaching methods of our group directors will not work for this new generation,” she said.

But as the parent of a teenager, she uses some of the same principles and techniques she uses at home. “My ultimate goal is for them to come to school and graduate. Whatever they need, if I don’t have what they need, we get it. That’s my job!”

And as the “World Famous” prepare for this battle of the bands, this balance of “soft love and tough love” will have them walking the court full of confidence and pride.

Proud of their school, proud of their group members and proud of their group director!


Cheryl Smith is the editor of I Messenger Media, which includes publications: Texas Metro News, Garland Journal and I Messenger. She also hosts a radio show, Cheryl’s World, on Blog Talk Radio. and is the current secretary of the National Association of Black Journalists and regional president of the National Association of Newspaper Editors. Smith is over 40 years in the industryand before founding I Messenger Media in 2011, she work like a host of PAX-TV’s “The Ester Davis Show”.”

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