Itunuoluwa Williams credits her African heritage for educational success

Itunuoluwa Williams grew up understanding the importance of having pride in her African heritage. She credits her culture for equipping her with essential tools to achieve excellence.

“My heritage has contributed to who I am today,” said Williams, a Lagos, Nigeria native. “Nigerians are resilient, resourceful people who, no matter what their circumstances may be, always make the most of their situation.”

That resilience and perseverance have led Williams to the pinnacle of her undergraduate journey, as she will receive a bachelor’s degree during Alcorn State University’s Commencement Exercise on Saturday.

The will to succeed that Nigerians possess is what motivates Williams to accomplish her goals. Completing this step in her education is a testament to her work ethic. It's also the latest example of Nigerians who accept nothing but the best.

“Nigerians are very competitive. All around the world, we have risen to great heights and kicked down doors. Knowing this encouraged me to strive to do my best and contribute positively to any assignment.”

Staying true to her identity is a lesson that Williams’s parents taught her from an early age. She attributes her success to applying the advice of her parents to her life.

“My parents encouraged me to be a go-getter and to persevere through tough times. They instilled in me the importance of staying true to my heritage. My mother was fond of saying, ‘Remember the child of whom you are. If you don’t know where you’re going, remember where you’re coming from.’ My parents remind me to be proud of my upbringing, which instilled diligence, perseverance, and compassion.”

It was also Williams’s parents who encouraged her to experience the world through reading and watching the news from other countries. She took their advice and was exposed to the unfair treatment of minorities, which inspired her to pursue a legal career.

“My parents encouraged me to read extensively and watch domestic and international news. As I became exposed to the different forms of injustice around the world, I decided to become an attorney, representing the underserved and giving a voice to those whose voices are ignored.”

Coming to Alcorn further piqued Williams’s interest in becoming an attorney. Her work in the Office of Global Programs and the campus Writing Center provided tools that would benefit her when she starts graduate school at Penn State Law in Pennsylvania this fall and in her future career.

“My interest stemmed from participating in the Office of Global Program’s Model African Union. Through this program, I have developed dispute resolution and diplomacy skills. I also work as a peer writing consultant in the University’s Writing Center. I enjoy assisting clients with brainstorming and writing while developing my writing, critical thinking, and communication skills. It has been essential for my professional development.”

Alcorn has been good to Williams. She’s thankful for the University’s career and academic preparation and is grateful for the family that she has gained.

“My experience at Alcorn has been worthwhile. I’ve made lifelong friends, interacted with other goal-driven individuals, and participated in organizations. I’m grateful to the Alcorn faculty for their brilliance, service, and investment. I’m thankful for the Office of Career Services for their support and networking programs because it was through the Career Fair that I networked with the law schools. Alcon has given me a family, and I’m grateful for that.”