Ashley Williams, an exceptional woman, showcased her brilliance and determination by earning a law degree and a master’s degree from two different universities in two different states within the same week. Her accomplishments exemplify the essence of Black Girl Magic.
In May, Ashley received her Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Pennsylvania, just two days after obtaining her Master’s degree in Political Management from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The unique feat was made even more remarkable by the fact that the George Washington University did not offer a dual-degree program.
While pursuing her degrees, Ashley also held a significant role at the State Department as the Special Advisor and Director of Special Projects to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. She embarked on her master’s degree program in 2015 at George Washington University, aiming to advance her undergraduate degree and passion for politics while continuing her work.
Ashley explained that the political management program at GW was an ideal fit, offering her the flexibility to participate online or in-person, depending on her schedule. Soon after starting the program, she applied to law school, fulfilling a lifelong aspiration influenced by her parents, who are both lawyers.
The journey to law school was not without challenges. Ashley faced rejections during two separate admissions cycles, even while working at the White House and later at the State Department. However, she remained resolute in her determination to pursue a legal career.
One year after commencing her master’s program, Ashley began law school at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2016. Balancing her master’s degree and law school requirements, she paused her master’s program during her first year of law school and resumed it during the summer months. She continued to juggle both degrees, even while studying abroad in Tokyo, where she engaged with the Japanese Supreme Court.
Ashley successfully completed her JD requirements in May 2019, just five months after fulfilling her master’s degree requirements. Throughout her journey, she encountered doubts and questions from others, but she remained steadfast in her pursuit, recognizing the intellectual engagement and value each degree brought to her life.
With her remarkable accomplishments, Ashley hopes to inspire others to persevere and realize their potential. She encourages individuals to never give up and to believe in their abilities. By sharing her experience, she aims to motivate others to work hard and embrace the endless possibilities that await them.
Ashley Williams’ remarkable achievements and unwavering determination serve as a shining example of Black excellence and resilience. Her journey reminds us that with sacrifice, self-discipline, and unwavering belief in oneself, extraordinary goals can be achieved.
Morehouse College, a historically black college and university (HBCU) founded in 1867, has produced many notable alumni, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert F. Smith. However, until this year, none of them had graduated with a degree in journalism. That honor belongs to Jalen Brown, who became the first person to receive a journalism degree from Morehouse College in its 156-year history.
Brown, who graduated on May 16, 2023, tweeted his achievement with a photo of himself wearing his graduation cap. “My name is Jalen Brown, and I am the FIRST person to receive a Journalism degree in Morehouse College’s 156-year history,” he wrote.
His tweet received over 15,000 likes and hundreds of congratulatory messages from fellow journalists, professors, alumni, and admirers. Nicole Carr, one of his professors and a journalist at ProPublica, praised Brown for his work ethic and storytelling skills. “Proud of you, Jalen,” she wrote. “Happy to have had you in my classroom for two semesters-watching you thrive in your newsroom internships, grow as a writer and think critically about the ways in which we tackle our industry issues today. You are a strong storyteller. Morehouse is proud.” Read more about Jalen here.