Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) Scholarship Program winner, Ashley Lamarre, continues to be a success four years after receiving the Disque Dean award. In May, she graduated from Lake Forest College in Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in both African American Studies and Philosophy. Lamarre was also awarded the McPherson Prize for Excellence and the Senior Prize in African American Studies. “My award particularly came from my work in the Philosophy department where I held a high GPA, became a member of Phi Sigma Tau (the International Honor Society in Philosophy), and was accepted to a PhD program in Philosophy,” Lamarre said.
In the fall, Lamarre will be attending Penn State University where she is enrolled in the Dual-Title PhD program in Philosophy and African American Studies. She plans on becoming a professor, so that she can continue her research and help others in the same way her professors assisted her. “After several semesters of working closely with my adviser, Dr. Daw-Nay Evans, who is both a professor in the Philosophy department and the new chair of the African American Studies department, I decided that academia was the right path for me,” Lamarre said.
Lamarre’s steadfast dedication to her academic work has earned her several accolades, and has inspired her to apply her research into spreading awareness about racial, gender, and socio-economic issues occurring within the Black community. “Before speaking with Dr. Daw-Nay Evans, I never seriously considered a career that would allow me to take a more critical look at the multi-faceted layers of black culture and the state of black people in America. Not only the ability to take a critical look, but also the ability to disseminate this knowledge to educate, affirm the experiences of Black people, and provide others the tools in which to create real change.” She credits the support of her professors, from both her fields of study and within Lake Forest itself because of its intimate setting that she was able to form meaningful bonds with everyone she worked with. “Everyone seemed to be so invested in making sure that I knew my worth. Though my adviser was always there to both challenge me and remind me of my greatness, Professors from all different departments, not even related to my ma-jor, became a major part of my support circle. Professors would not only inform me of opportunities and advice that would benefit me as a student and a young professional, but they’d also lend me their ears, when I was going through tough times and when I was experiencing anxieties about my future,” Lamarre said.
In one instance, Lamarre recalls being an anxious sophomore student who was unsure of what academic track to follow. She met with her adviser one day to discuss a paper she was working on, when he noticed her anxiety. “The following week when I went to his office, he had ordered two giant books for me to borrow about all the different career possibilities there were and what steps you must take to get there and reminded me, I could do anything I put my mind to. Within a week my stresses begin to fade and shortly after that I was finally able to declare a major, and then two,” Lamarre said.
Lamarre has a bright future ahead of her—one that she will focus on bettering the lives of the students she interacts with and continuing her integral research and advocacy on the plight of the black community within the many facets of our justice system. “After I earn my PhD, I hope to obtain a tenure position as a Professor at a university or college. I’m also open to opportunities in the realm of education as well as diversity and inclusion but, teaching and the ability to directly interact with students is what I’m most passionate about,” Lamarre said.
Her decision to become a professor was also based on her experience as a Peer Teacher (similar to a Teaching Assistant) and Cohort 1 member of the Graduate School Exploration Fellowship program at Lake Forest College. “These opportunities gave me the ability to teach a variety of courses, hold office hours, mentor other students, and conduct research at the University of Maryland, College Park,” Lamarre said.
Lamarre is set on her future career plans; however, the only variable that she is still mulling over is where she would like to teach. “I’m unsure about when it comes to my future is where I want to teach. After, hopping around from New York, to Illinois, to Maryland and now to Pennsylvania, I’m pretty much open to wherever new opportunities present them-selves,” Lamarre said.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Lamarre..