Lincoln University Scholar-Athlete Bound for the Big Apple to Study Social Work

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Sociology and Anthropology Major Ashley Juma Plans to Work Internationally

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa – This fall, Ashley Juma will head to New York City to study sociology at New York University, which will bring her one step closer to a lifelong dream of earning her doctorate and one day opening an orphanage in Kenya.

Ashley Juma, around age 4, smiles as she stands in Kitui, Kenya, where she was raised until age five.

Juma, a Prince George's County, Maryland, resident, first learned English at age five. Though she was born in the United States, she lived the first five years of her life in Kitui, Kenya, with her grandparents so that her parents could finish high school in the United States.

Juma was in high school when she first heard about Lincoln University. It was a church choir director that encouraged her to explore Lincoln and even offered to pay for the application fee to apply.

“I believe God wanted me to come to Lincoln not only for myself but for others as well,” Juma said, referring to her belief that God placed her at Lincoln to affect others’ lives through experiences such as the peer mentorship, where she mentored freshmen for two years.

She said that prior to attending Lincoln, she was “timid” and not confident in knowing her strengths.

“I wanted to fit in so badly that I was peer-pressured into acting out of my character,” Juma said. “It was not until spring semester of my sophomore year that I truly found myself. I started believing in myself more and my confidence level grew tremendously. I was challenged in my classes to focus on becoming me for a change instead of just trying to fit in.”

Ashley Juma runs to first base as a member of the Lincoln University women’s softball team. Juma will graduate May 12 and attend graduate school for social work at New York University.

Juma threw herself into extracurricular activities at Lincoln. She played on the women's softball team, and joined Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociological Society, the mentoring program Big Sister Little Sister, National Council of Negro Women, Gospel Choir, and the National Society of Leadership and Success: Sigma Alpha Pi.

As an anthropology and sociology major, Juma’s coursework looking at individual behaviors and human society helped develop her personal framework for understanding what she wanted to do in life.

One of the defining moments in her personal journey occurred during a “study of the self” — also called ethnography — her senior year in which she wrote a case study titled “Person, know thyself.”

Ashley Juma will graduate from Lincoln University on May 12, 2017, with degrees in anthropology and social work.

The assignment allowed Juma to reflect on her life so far and see her growth.

“It also allowed me to see the different stages of my life and how different each stage was,” Juma said.

It was the culmination of Juma’s journey of finding her true self at Lincoln University. During her journey, she developed good friendships with students and received guidance from teacher-mentors who pushed her.

“Dr. [Emmanuel] Babatunde and Dr. [Robert] Millette truly helped mold the person I am today because they saw something in me that I did not seem to see at all in myself,” Juma said.

“They even improved my confidence level without knowing it by selecting me as class coordinator in their classes. They never stopped believing in me, even when I thought I was not good enough or smart enough. When I told them that I was afraid that I would not be accepted in graduate schools, both of them told me that I was a superior student and that they would write letters of recommendation for me because they believed in my ability.”

Ashley Juma (second from left) accepts her certificate at the induction ceremony for the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociological Society. Shown with her are James Jones, sociology professor; Patricia Joseph, acting dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and Emmanuel Babatunde, sociology professor and mentor to Juma.

Emmanuel Babatunde, a sociology professor and mentor to Juma said, “Ashley is a diamond that is just being shined to occupy her place of leadership. I will miss her but thank God that all of us have had a part to play in shaping her future.”

Article by Yadirah Johnson, a mass communications student at Lincoln University