On Monday, May 21, Alexis Carey graduated as valedictorian of the class of 2018 during Clark Atlanta 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 un-winnable combination.
Here’s Carey’s take. “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.”
Carey received the full-tuition Provost Academic Scholarship to attend CAU. At first, the Baltimore native was totally against attending an HBCU. She was seeking more diversity.
“I was ignorant, thinking that all Black people had the same experience. 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 explains in a statement to press.
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.
She’s the first in her family of six to complete college.