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Tamara Carson '99

Tamara Carson first fell in love with the University of San Diego at the age of twelve when she participated in a weeklong educational youth camp that the school hosted. It was her first experience of dorm life, as Founders Hall became her home for that camp week. Tamara never imagined that five years later the University of San Diego would become her home throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies. Tamara Carson earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (’99) and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction (’01) from the University of San Diego.

1. What have you been up to since graduation?

Soon after completing her studies at USD, Tamara accepted a teaching position at Southwestern College where she worked in the English and Reading departments for seven years.  Throughout that time, she helped students learn reading and studying techniques to help them increase their reading comprehension and develop critical reading skills. Also, since graduating from USD, Tamara became a mother.  She is the proud parent of 7-year-old Solomon Paul Carson-Robinson.  In addition to her roles as educator and parent, Tamara Carson is a playwright.  She has enjoyed writing creatively since her early teen years when she would compose humorous stories for the entertainment of her close school friends.  Tamara’s most recent stage play Blessed – The Musical will debut at the Educational Cultural Complex in San Diego, California, November 5th, 6th, 12th, and 13th ( 


2. What is your fondest memory of USD?

One of Tamara’s favorite memories at USD was in 1998 when the school hosted the presidential debates between President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole.  “It was truly an exciting time for the whole campus body.  Secret Service agents and news media were everywhere!  I especially remember how Ross Perot, who did not get to participate in the debates, made his presence known by spelling his name in huge letters with white rocks at the bottom of Tecolote Canyon. I could still see remnants of his name, over two years later.”


3. What is your favorite place on campus, why?

Tamara’s favorite place on campus was the Educational Opportunity Program office.  “Michael Austin, the program director, was always there to encourage me to do my best in my classes and remind me of my personal responsibility to use my education to help others.  He would always say, ‘The more you know, the more you owe.” Tamara said it was there that she learned to become a more organized student by using an academic daily calendar to chart out her courses and study schedule.


4. Who was your favorite USD professor or class?

Dr. Douglass Payne from the English department was Tamara’s favorite professor. Tamara admired his passion for literature.  When she became a college professor, she modeled her teaching style after Dr. Payne’s. 


5. How have you remained involved with USD since graduation?

Tamara enjoys supporting events hosted by the BSU, including the annual Apollo Night and Gospel Night.  She also enjoys showing Torero spirit throughout the annual homecoming weekend.


6. If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?

 “1. Always do your best.  2. Study with good students.  3. Always take notes in every class. 4. Study abroad.  5. Always have courage to ask questions when you don’t understand.  6. Do community service.  7. Never make excuses.  8. Be yourself.  9. Have fun.  10. Cherish your years at USD – they’ll be over before you know it.”

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