FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sam Burston
By VICKIE G. HAMPTON
ATLANTA (May 19, 2018) – Growing up, Alexis Carey always wanted to know why. Her inquisitiveness, coupled with a keen sense of competitiveness, was the formula for her becoming the top graduating senior at Clark Atlanta University. On May 21st, she will graduate as valedictorian of the Class of 2018 during the University’s Commencement Convocation.
The point is notable on two counts: at 3.93, her GPA is the highest in her graduating class, and she accomplished it with a major in biology. Many naysayers had warned her that being valedictorian and majoring in biology would be an unwinnable combination.
For Carey, it was a challenge she couldn’t refuse. “I said, ‘Yes, I know it’s going to be hard, but I’m going to try,’” she recalls. In her freshman year, she received an award for having a 4.0 GPA. It was the starting gun that had her racing toward a finish line that she wouldn’t cross until this May. “That award showed me that it was possible, and it pushed me to set a goal to become valedictorian,” she says.
Carey was a challenge-seeker even before she enrolled at CAU. In fact, it was her desire to do something different that almost made her pass up the University. Growing up in predominantly African-American Baltimore, Maryland, she wanted to attend a school that offered more diversity. She was not interested in attending an HBCU.
“I was ignorant, thinking that all black people had the same experience,” she admits. “At CAU, I’ve experienced so many diverse minds and experiences.
“I realize now that it is so important to learn about how great you are as a black person and how important it is to learn about your ancestors – how they fought for you to be here,” she says.
After graduation, Carey plans to enter the Medical University of South Carolina in a post-baccalaureate research program that prepares participants for graduate school. Her plan is to earn a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology.
One of the biggest lessons she says she will take from CAU is the sense of responsibility the University ingrained in its student to give back to their communities. Carey plans to use her biology major to combat diseases and minimize the disparities that African-Americans encounter. She spent her junior and senior years working in the University’s Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development with Dr. Joann Powell, whose research focuses on therapeutic developments for prostate cancer—which disproportionately affects African-American men.
She also volunteered with the Green Youth Foundation, teaching local elementary kids about environmental sustainability. In her senior year, after serving for two years as first vice president, she was named president of the campus chapter of the NAACP, where students engaged in community outreach initiatives in career development, financial literacy, and community service projects such as feeding the hungry.
Carey, who received the full-tuition Provost Academic Scholarship to attend CAU, is the first in her family of six to complete college. She is making sure that her successful course through the University leaves a deep enough imprint for her younger brother and sister to follow.
“I feel that I had to do this – I had to go to college,” she says.” I can make a better life for my family and I can encourage my younger siblings to follow in my footsteps and attend college.”Category: Students, University Media
Keywords: Alexis Carey