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#MarcusAsks: Education From Behind Bars

Full transcript from interview with Stanley Andrisse. (September 16, 2021)

Marcus :- what's up, y'all - oh boy Marcus Bullock for here for another special edition of Marcus asked. I'm super excited that you join you guys for yet another Edition. Today We're going to be talking about education Behind Bars getting your education behind bars. We're going to be having Professor Stanley and his going to come in join me in a few moments. I'm excited for each one of you guys not only to hear and learn about how we think about addressing education Behind Bars and why it's important to us, but more importantly what organizations that are focused on people that are coming home from prison. I doing to help address the need for delivering education. Well before they come home, so Professor is going to be chopping off in a second to talk to us. You gonna chop it up with this. I'm super excited to hop on. Thank you guys again, as you know all I need from you guys is to join the conversation. Don't be shy about it. Please make sure that you jumping in those comments and letting us know like what's the point of view especially when you think about what your loved ones are going through, if you have someone that's inside of these cells or if you just want to learn about ways that you can engage and involve yourself. As we think about best ways to be able to get folks in behind bars access to education one of the things. I'm excited to talk to him about his pilgrims like what's going on with that. how they thinking about doing that. Stanley Andrisse, He runs an organization, called professional prison to PhD. So how are they thinking about getting folks real likes post-secondary education opportunities inside these cells. So shout out to Stanley. I'm gonna give a few minutes. He's probably going to join us in a quick second one staying hops on is going to be on and Poppin. So thank you guys so much for joining us conversation with me for another special edition of Marcus Asks. All right, so what a wait for Stanley to hop on I'm gonna tell you a little bit about my journey of going through prison in education. I received when I was there interestingly enough when I went to prison I was so young. I had no idea that I was going to actually have to go through that experience. And so I really wasn't concerned about education. It was until much later that I meant older folks that were there that were talking about the importance and need of Education after I came home for the so I'm super excited to talk to Stanley about what they're doing to bring it. But in fact he just joined on so I'm one less than and right now now can't wait to holler at him top of that. We spend on the minutes. I've talked to Professor anyway, so this is going to be fun. I'm super excited to talked. Yeah, he's right there. Stanley :- Yeah this way. Marcus :- All right this way here we go. It was perfect. Stanley :- You can hear me. Marcus :- It's a little sketchy. A little choppy, but I think I can hear you though. Now it's perfect. Stanley :- And we go what's up, man? Marcus :- What's going on, bro? Thank you so much, taking time chop it up. Stanley :- Oh, no, I'm excited. I'm excited, the minor technical difficulties. Are you thinking that I know IG but you know, I was like, oh we where we meet that. Okay., I got it though. Marcus :- Now, it's cool. It's cool. It's cool. One of the things I'm there I get excited about door will not as you IG channel, right, It's like it's having Folks at IG community be able to engage with us and learn like want to fly in a real lab conversation so they can learn from the folks who bring on two episodes of Marcus Asks, but for all of you don't know. I'm telling Stanley as well that we also put post these same videos on our YouTube channel so forth so that folks can watch them forever on any day? Like we want you to make sure you get all these resources and I think it's important to me and to the community and its entirety. So I'm getting I'm grateful that you came on man and chop it up with me. Thanks again. Stanley :- Oh! Yeah. Thanks for having me. I'm excited. Marcus :- Yes. I don't do a whole but I don't think a lot of times introduce folks, right? I like You take the own introduction. so you can help me help help me help others explain who you are. Stanley :- Yeah, man, just again just excited to be here with my man Marcus. We've done a few things together. He's been on our John Hopkins series as a specialist talking on communication justice so much much, you know appreciation of what you do and I love what you do love flicks out love partnering with Joseline. I started come across I had to jump on so to those who are joining that that I may not know and that you may not know me. I'm Stanley Andrisse. I am, you know part of the community that Marcus is part of in terms of formerly incarcerated leaders and folks out here looking to make change for those with similar backgrounds as him and I so formally incarcerated person multiple felony convictions in my early 20s, I was sentenced to 10 years in life 10. I was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and I was being told by a prosecutor that I was worthless was going to be caught in this revolving door of incarceration that she was pushing actually to send me away for life in prison, you know, I get sentenced to 10 years fast forward some time. I'm now dr. Stanley Andrisse Endocrinology scientists at Howard University College of Medicine and formerly at Johns Hopkins medicine. Also a visiting faculty at Georgetown visiting faculty across the seas at Imperial College of Medicine. So I'm you know, I've changed and didn't take that, you know trajectory that this that the system was hoping for a person like myself coming out of you know, the Northen and Louis.

Marcus :- Now this is the best. I want to dig a little bit deeper into the actual medicine at your practice. One of the things I think is is dope about what you're doing right now and it's like youíre seeing some of the stigma that's attached to people that have done some time have had some type of family conviction or any kind of conviction. whatever else whatsoever, right? And because you would think like this certain there's a bucket of jobs that you can have right? It's like it's only a certain kind of job that you have after you do a big. Especially look like you are. so that you completely you know, you you're saying nah right at the like you can take that away trips away from that. So first, I will start with this new practice.

Andrisse :- So Endocrinology, which when folks off the mix it up with epidemiology, but Endocrinology is the study of hormones and particularly, you know, my focus is studying insulin signaling and insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and you know, I fell across this just similarly. I guess there's a lot of people fall across the passion and one differences, you know people find their passions and many different ways. I happen to find it while I was locked inside a prison cell and you know, it was due to you know, my when I went away. My father's Health kind of went down the drains pretty quickly. He had type 2 diabetes before I left, but it's helped just plummeted when I went away he went, you know, he's in and out of the hospital and surgeries and amputations and he eventually We ended up losing his battle with type 2 diabetes, but it was, you know being stuck in this cage and you know not knowing what to do with that emotional feeling of losing someone and seeing them deteriorate. You know, I couldn't really show the emotion of crying and feeling you know, the type of feelings that people may generally feel when people are sick and die so I channeled that energy into from where can learn about diabetes at the time. I had it was not a I want to be an endocrinologist and this is what I want to do for life. I was really just kind of thrown off at how it was literally eating him alive like if. you've ever seen a diabetic necrosis of the foot, you know, I don't suggest that you Google it because it's not a pretty sight. So I mean, this is something that literally is eating at somebody and I just couldn't understand why that was and I wanted to understand that and I started you know, I read my first scientific Article 1 diabetes while I was locked in this prison cell and it was you know, my body was physically locked inside a prison cell, but my mind was roaming around the human cell and learning all the intricacies of how diabetes and insulin resistance interacts with the human cell. And I mean that is literally a you up still doing that now seems like this endless amount of information to take in so it was like I was on the Magic School Bus. I love you guys. Remember the Magic School Bus and there's like episode when they went inside the stomach and I just like I can literally just spend days weeks months. And so, you know that was a way for me to channel that hurt but then, you know became this thing that was a way for me to get out of prison and then it became a career and Yeah not what's i do..

Marcus :- Now you're a super dop, that was not your career path, my question is... Stanley :- so to your point about like I think when it at the time is and I never thought that this was going to be a career path, you know, I mean, I was just I kind of fell in love with this thing and I really didn't know what I was going to do with it. Yeah. I really didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I knew that I This guy died. I came to love it had a passion for it. And you know, I was fortunate enough to have his mentor step into my life. That really was this, you know, this guy who happens to be a professor in college. I met him before I went away and you know, he didn't have he didn't know about all the barriers of incarceration in the collateral consequence of he's like, f*** it. Let's do it like you go for it man., like don't let you can't let this talent and potential. It'll go to waste like Stanley you you can do this, and I don't think that he quite understood the barriers that were in place, but he was like you're you know, it would it would be a waste of society for you not to push forward in this and so like he believed in me and I started believing in myself and I was like I can do this I could do and I started telling you know friends of locked up with like, you know, I'm gonna be a doctor when I get out and they're like, what the f*** are you talking about? Are you crazy? Right now I'm like what? Come on. Let's hit this year. I read it, you know it was kind of this joke and then when I got out and then things started falling in place with the help of the support system will help us as Mentor, you know, that's that's that was kind of the beginning parts of forming the organization. Although the organization came many years down the road, but that idea of the transformation of what education can do. You know, what kind of seated right there? Marcus :- Yeah. No, I mean, so let me go back to like when you were sitting in a cell. because I have a couple of questions around like just your experience with getting like did you start that when you were reading them? Did you where were you and your collegiate career? Like what are you starting class? Will you taking classes while you were still inside ? Stanley :- So a Missouri when I was locked up there was no College in prison at where where I was. So I was you know I'll got tied into the legal system at a young age arrested for the first time in 14 starts selling drugs in my early teen years and continued, you know into my sitting in that courtroom in my early 20s, and but I was I was also a three-sport athlete in high school and although like I've got placed into the school to prison pipeline because you know a lot of my teachers I was in and out of detention and suspension and you know had different conduct issues. And you know, my teachers weren't really enforcing the blossoming of my like intellectual potential. You know, I was just kind of this Troublemaker always in suspension detention, you know flirting with girls and doing different things that they saw as being a troublemaker. So I embody that but you know, I say all that to say that I was I was still fortunate enough to graduate high school with a college football scholarship. And so I went into undergrad and you know, I actually it was I ended up finishing my undergrad and just weeks later. I was sitting in that courtroom and had a prosecuted saying that I need to be thrown away for life and that you know, you know, what's what's more dangerous than a street Thug an educator Street Thug was was her perspective, so she didn't buy that you know, that was that I had the potential you know, she thought I was just continually getting in trouble. So, you know, she wanted to send their way, but I went into prison having already completed my undergraduate. Marcus :- Oh, I got you. I got you. So while you were there and you were thinking I mean when you started, you know, you're reading so studying and research. Let's be completely foreign to you while you were still sitting there you understood the value of it. So when you were saying to yourself when you were saying out loud, I'm going to be a doctor when I go home like you meant it and you were thinking of your mind like I am willing to do what it takes in order to be able to give like one it's a campus somewhere. Yes through this as like as a career. Stanley :- Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so I was thinking so, I'm actually I'm about to go back to my undergraduate alma mater and do one of the key the key notes for I'm doing a bunch of things around home coming home coming week. And this is the place where I play, you know, it's a division to I think they might be like they were division 2 and I was a I think they maybe division one now, but you know, so when I was in college there were several. Those it like I got it and yeah in high school, I was like everything right? I played a bunch of positions and and I thought I was I thought I was a s*** and so I went into college with the college scholarship. I mean the pros I wasn't in college really good school. I was in college to make it to the pros and it wasn't like I mean, I mean so the black experience the black teenager Affairs the young experience. It's like it's like probe GoPro and sports GoPro as a rapper or GoPro in the streets. And so I have my foot at all three of those because that's what they told me to go pro and and you know, so I was going hard and all three of those and and not really an education. So, although I was in college, you know, the student athlete part my talk to the student when I go back and I'm actually going to split up with the guys who put her homecoming. I'm going to get the practice room which is which is dope super excited about that. But you know, my talk is called the student comes first and student athlete and and for me it didn't you know, so that's kind of the message that I'm pushing through them. I didn't really put the student first. It was all about Athletics and selling dope at that particular time. Marcus :- Yeah. Yeah. Marcus :- So what so when you get out and you're in the class, did you ever have that gender issues like haven't checked the box, but you're lookin that had a family conviction when you came home and will apply for school. Stanely :- yeah, yeah, so that was you know, so I got all excited about this idea of like I'm going to be a doctor and you know, let's make it happen this this, you know, this professor believed in me and I started believing in myself, and I applied while I was filling in prison to a bunch of different programs and it took months to put these together because one of the challenges I mean, you know, Marcus :- you are planning to go to school when you were still in prison ? Stanely :- yeah. Yeah, while i was still in prison, yeah. so i got a board notice that you know, I got a I got an update and then so once I got my outdate I started, you know applying to go to schools and I mean it literally took months and months to put these together because and this is something that I explained in my book. That's you know, just recently released and actually is a number one is number one new released and educated by Educators biographies, but I talk about some challenging one of the challenges like as you might No mail, right that's a big part of the book shops. You know what you do, and you can only get five pieces of mail and so like these application package was sometimes you know, 15 20 30 pages long and they will be rejecting all of them. So I had to have I had like this friend support system. Like I mean, this is stuff this from people in my life that I just owe so much to like they would literally like get these applications rip them apart.I've been booklet rip them apart into five pages, you know, these 50 page book was ripping apart put them in the tents of the pieces of mail mail and to me actually number them. So because they would come to me and all different types of orders. They would they, you know, they helped me put together. They helped me write the different statements and it was a back and forth finger that have to write it in my hand. Send it to him they edited so it was with this process.

Marcus :- Shout out for those who helped that way Stanely :- Yeah big shout out man. Big shout out to the folks, and I certainly pushed all of them up, you know in the book and just on a regular basis every time I see him because they're still in you know, most of them are all of them. I would say is still in my life to some degree and all that work and almost literally the day I sent it up. I still got my you know, I still got my burger Cakes by one I got that's how that's how short of kind of was before. I got the rejection notices and you know, I had to check the box and there was no one in my friend Circle. I had to shoot super supportive system, but nobody knew how to answer that question. And you know, I got rejected just rejection after rejection after rejection reject from every single place except for where this mentor I was on the admissions committee at Saint Louis University and you know, I got into st. Louis University and just you know, I knocked it out the park from there, you know finished at the top of my class and you know, almost two years shorter than what most other people do moved on to Johns Hopkins moved on to Howard all those other places that I mentioned this earlier. Yeah, Marcus :- so it's so dope. I mean as you see in the comments everybody like you

Marcus I'll just to be able to accomplish what you would do. So it's great to be able to show other people how incredible you are. and what the resilient sometimes it takes for folks who are sitting these cells just to be able to accomplish with folks take for granted right like you think about just like filling out applications in the the amount of effort it takes, you know to mean just to be able to do that from inside of a prison cell in I just do I'm like I'm applauding you definitely fall for stick it in there. Let me let me get let me jump straight in Like your advice that you give the folks right now, right because now I mean, I know that while you sit on Amazing these amazing boards and work with these awesome education institutions. You also have you know, you work it, you know with nonprofits that are very thoughtful about working with people to help them get access to their education specific rights looking at secondary. What is still in progress would advise first of all before I get into like how you specifically do that?. I want to jump straight into that advice column, right? What advice would you give? you give to someone that sitting in a Cell right now and as wondering how do they continue to further their educational career because they graduate from high school or or did you get just got their GD while they were in prison and they want to think about, you know be thoughtful about something but they don't know they graduate from college even got the underground and they might mail about what do i do.? Stanely :- Yeah, I would have to say the first thing that I would say is to reach out to our organization. We are across the country with it and actually across the world with it as we're also working and a few other countries but reach out to our organization. We certainly be willing to help prisons of professionals from prison cells a PhD we would create help you create the support for them. Really. I say that to plug us, you know, I mean you could reach out to us. We would certainly help you but really any system that can provide you this level of support and belief in yourself. I think we are beat down by the system like if anyone you know from from the moment, I went in like on my court date. I had the prosecutor painting this picture of me as is dangerous threat to society this terrible person all these different things that I did because I had done those things and so Like we're just beat over the head with saying that we are we ain't s*** like we you'll never be anything. So you need to start getting people around you that believe differently and you and you know, I love when I hear your story and you talk about what your mom had done for you when you were away in and staying connected through mail and that the power of that right? I mean, so it's about finding that support system that will help you change the view of yourself to get you to really believe that You can do it because that was one thing for me. I was like, yeah, I'm gonna be a doctor I can do this, right you need that support system around you we would be happy to be that support system. We've created a structure around his what you know, what our organization is done around that type of support but I would say, you know get a support system start changing your mind, you know get people around you that can help you start changing your mind so you can help change your own narrative, which of course will help change others narratives, you know, as you know my work your work and the work of others in our organization are helping do within their communities.

Marcus :- . So what about if like my brother or you know my uncle my Mom they're locked up in and I want to figure out how to help support them or even introduce them to you. You're right to the organization to like some school in my area. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to spot that Process. What advice do you give to me? Stanely :- Yeah, so if you know. I would say that you need to find an organization. Marcus :- can i get you up too .? Stanely :- they make it across the nation and and so for folks we provide a couple of different levels of support. So we provide a high level of support where we actually put a team of people we create your own little personal team like we have over 250 volunteers that work with the work with us and so everyone of them are currently or formerly incarcerated Scholars is what we call the people that we work with. We assign three volunteers to each of them and they are they serve different purposes. I won't go all the way into that but they connect with them at least 10 hours per week. So we have this they literally have like a team it's like you have you know, your administrative assistant you can go to and ask them to look stuff up and to do different things. They have a team of people supporting them telling them. They can't do this and holding them accountable for the things that they they say they can do we have another chair of support where it's more. So a pen pal. It's a pen pal program where we connect you with somebody who stays in contact with you that idea of mail and being connected to people on the outside and then also at the same time we're sending you information that is useful to you know, potentially, you know you pursuing your career, but we're not as active as someone in that other chair where we put you know a whole team of support around them, but in either tear, you know, you're getting supported and you have positive people you're learning about stories like yours and you know, we're constantly built, you know, giving them different stories of uplifting formerly incarcerated folks. So I would say find organizations like that find that inspiration, you know for me. I didn't know about organizations like this, but you know, I happen to find inspiration in a human cell and I hung onto that and you know, I and then I had a support system around me so that that would be find someone that believes in in you and you know, put positive people around you. Yeah,

Marcus :- That's great advice, but what about the folks that are like that of come home and they looking for a second chance and they don't know where to start either right? Like they like man. I want to go back to school and my education is important to me. I want to further my education. I just don't know what to Do next Stanely :- yeah and you know for us furthering education is about what you know, we help the person find out what it what's best for them. So, you know if we go through a process of learning helping them learn about themselves like again like the in my personal situation all the hustling tools and skills. I was using I was being told to throw all that s*** away because that's what put me in prison what whereas like I use all those skills now, what as I interact with my colleague and the way that you know, I'm a people person and the way that I could build collaborations and write grants with people. Those are all the same skills. So we teach people that you have all the skills. You need to be successful. You've been being told that those are bad things, but we want to help you. You know, it's called asset based Community Development is is the methodology that we use is that. It's not about what's wrong with the individual. It's about what strong and we try to find that and we try to make it stronger. So we just build the person up and that may mean they want to do whatever it is that they want to do like and we help them do that. So, you know, we believe in education but education does not necessarily mean that the college degree to us. It means you know trying to do something that brings you so value you and so forth and And can help you live prosperously and happy and start a family and you know do the type of things. That is the so-called American Dream, you know that's been taken away from us. There is no American Dream for people that look like you and me and we want to try to give people a small taste of that.

Marcus :- Real quick. They like so I'm I got one minute left with you. So I want to do people at any of these colleges and universities where you teach classes or will you perform research? I mean I see I when not without Google you like I see so much research work that you've done on me. I see you got Publications. I think he has like six or seven Publications out there. I mean like you putting it work. Do they know? You got a family. Stanely :- Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I mean I'll I'm on the cover. I was in grappling with one of my colleagues. I'll student named. Are you Jay? Hold it, you know much luggage a he came out for my birthday just recently in from New York and we was like being like I won't yeah, he's just like how the hell are you at all these damn Science magazine covers like he's like, there's no other formerly incarcerated person that I know that is. and all these day of covers and he also yeah, they did it does. I mean I actually, you know, put it in my Gran's I kind of flipped the script now instead of like even when they don't ask for it,. I put it up front because it's like this powerful thing that you know, if I could you know, I was managing millions of dollars as a 17 year old. What are you doing? What's your move? $100,000 Grant you think I can't manage, I've been doing that since the teenager. Like so like these skills. I'm putting them forth as these are valuable skills that I can I've been using them much longer than these other people that you're giving us this money to like so yeah, I put it out there. Yeah. I mean I try to flip the script on it basically Marcus :- know I love this. I love this. Hey look Stanley man. Thank you so much for joining us tonight It was super dope. It's always good chopping up with you man, but I think it's incredible to allow for others to be able to hear. What what is eee what doping is really like a now much Brilliance comes out of some of these cells tonight. We heard so much from Dr. Stanley Andrisse tonight. He talked a little bit about his journey his path to furthering furthering his education after you know after he came out of prison and when I think that was really cool about it, right was that he also pointed to the BT inside of the storytelling he talked about how he went to prison after he went to undergrad so he already had a degree instead when a in prison so this is like, It's a bunch of stigma for a bunch of people that say that folks who are have college educations can't make the some of the same mistakes like something someone who like me who made them when I was you know, a kid and had made the college yet, right. So I think that was a really important when I wanted to other things. I heard Stanley talked about he's talking about the importance of community and almost every answer he gave tonight when I talked about education and try to weave leave it around and said how dope he was in the work that he did in order to be able to to further his events his own Education they so he get all those letters behind his name. He consistently talked about the people who help them with the mail. They get a job at who getting harmed at the College of Business applications in the folks who made sure that he they were there to help support him when he came home from prison the folks who continue to help support of even now while he talks about openly about having a family conviction on some side of the some of the most prestigious medical journals in the entire world Stanley. You also talk about ways that you all can engage right now and learn about the ways that you can help. Support your loved one was in prison as thinking about you know further invest in their education while they're there or if you've come home or you just don't know where to go what to do. Right like he's giving you a resource inside of their organization and we're going to tag his organization in the comments inside of this poll, and we'll also going to be able to make sure that you guys want you to have access to it. It's going to be down below in the comments as well. So please reach out to them because they have real resources to be able to help get you from 0 to 1 most times we only need somebody just click the Switch force and show us that we can be great. And I'm so excited that that we talked about doing just that with their organization as well. Yo big bro. Thank you again for joining us. Thank you for allowing us this time frame from John Hopkins, and I would and all these amazing places where you are. You do some dope stuff man. I'm super grateful to drink with a call you my homey. Thank you, bro. Appreciate you.

Stanely :- Appreciate it, man. thankyou for having me join. Thanks for joining. Marcus :- See you guys on the next edition of Marcus Asks to next time. Stanely - All right.


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