23 and Graduated Featuring Leah Williams
Give us a little background about yourself. Your hometown, Alma mater, what type of degrees you obtain and you major. Share your HBCU undergrad experience, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, winning the presidential academic award and presidential leadership award?
Originally from Cheltenham, MD, I am a triplet with a brother a minute older than me and a sister a minute younger than me. I made history when I graduated from Delaware State University in 2015 as the first person to ever be awarded both the Presidential Academic Award for my 4.0 GPA all eight semesters, and the Presidential Leadership Award for my leadership throughout campus. I returned the following year for my Master in Business Administration which I completed in just one year. During this past year, I was selected by the White House to serve as an HBCU All-Star for Delaware State University, where I supported President Obama’s Initiative to promote the excellence, innovation, and sustainability of HBCU’s. I also represented DSU at the HBCU Conference where I had the opportunity of introducing Vice President Biden. Since then, I was elected as the Vice President of the HBCU All-Star Alumni Association, a non-profit organization created to continue the legacy of HBCU All-Stars as they support the White House Initiative on HBCUs. I have also been featured on AspireTV network, the HBCU Nation radio show, and other communication networks. During my time at DSU, I founded two organizations on campus which are still active today, served as a supplemental instructor for multiple classes, tutored many students, and mentored freshmen. Music is another one of my passions as I plays nine instruments, and served as a dedicated member of the marching, concert, jazz, and pep bands. When available, I still continue to provide assistance to the band program and the band program still plays some of my arrangements. As a true business professional, I plan to continue to climb up the corporate ladder as I pursue my goals, while also making an impact in my community.
How did you manage your time?
Prioritizing was key in college, being involved in so many extracurricular activities, as well as working. I had to make sure my school work was completed, which led to many long nights, early mornings, and handling school work during my free time between classes.
How was your experience being a part of the HBCU All Star program?
I love being an HBCU All-Star, it was truly a blessing, and I never took that important platform for granted. My goal has always been to set an example for others while also helping open opportunities for them. The platform of being an HBCU All-Star has allowed me to do just that and this is just the beginning. Being an HBCU All-Star has opened so many doors of opportunities for me, and it has been an honor to represent my University and community. By being named the Vice President of the HBCU All-Star Alumni Association, I can now help take the honor of being an HBCU All-Star to the next level as we all work together to make an impact across the world. It has been a privilege to serve with so many wonderful HBCU students and I am looking forward to an amazing future for HBCUs and our organization.
What trials and tribulations did you overcome in college?
During my college career, I have faced many trials and tribulations, but most recently one of my biggest obstacles has been being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at such an early age. I was diagnosed in October 2015, and it has changed my life. It has been a big adjustment but I know that God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle and I am thankful for my family and my best friend who have supported me through it all.
What would you do differently?
I had an awesome HBCU experience and do not regret any of it. But if given the opportunity to do something differently, I would’ve networked more with my fellow classmates and gotten to know even more of them on a personal and professional level. In addition, I probably would’ve taken the chance of running for SGA or other student leadership positions.
What’s next for Leah?
Other than serving as the Vice President of the HBCU All-Star Alumni Association, I am looking forward to my new position with Northrop Grumman beginning in November. Northrop Grumman is an American global aerospace and defense technology company and I will be joining them as a Supply Chain Analyst.
What are your career goals?
I would first like to continue to learn as much as possible and grow in my career with Northrop Grumman. Long-term, I like to become the CEO of a major corporation, as well as to become the next President of the HBCU All-Star Alumni Association. I hope to also continue to grow my platform as an activist for HBCUs. In addition, I plan to start my own non-profit organizations, one to minister to the community and the other to assist those with Crohn’s disease.
What advice can you give to our readers?
I will tell the readers to never give up and trust God and the plans he has for your life.