At a HBCU where 68% of the population is female, it is the definition of black girl magic. At Delaware State University, the female population runs the school, from athletics to business. There are some women who have such a presence that it is simply impossible to miss them. Amongst that group is Ms.Tiara Lee, a junior at DSU, dedicated to making her mark.
Q- Who has been the greatest influence in your life that has impacted the woman you are today?
A- I would say my dad. I think my dad and my mom, but I would say my dad because I was raised with 3 sisters. So it is 4 of us all together and including my mom it’s 5 women in the house. He inspired me to be the woman I am, to keep my morals, to really be considerate of my character and how I carry myself as a woman. He really inspired me to be who I am, even when it comes to my personality, drive, dedication, all of that is from him. My mom of course too, but he really instilled that in us. Being a woman that people respect, love to be around , and get along with.
Q– Can you tell us your major and what you aspire to do in that field?
A- I am a social work major and I want to help the elderly. I want to be the one who plans their day for them. Let’s say if in the morning they have to take a shower, then go to lunch, then go to bingo. I want to be the one in the senior citizen home planning their day.
Q- What was your biggest achievement at Delaware State University?
A- I think my biggest achievement was getting on the presidents list one semester. I think that was my biggest achievement because school has always been something I struggled with. Being able to do that in college was, wow, I did not feel like I would be able to. So that was one of my biggest accomplishments.
Q- Where did you see yourself 5 years ago, and can you compare that to where you are now?
A- 5 years ago I was scared to come to college. I did not want to come, I only applied to Del State actually. I felt like if I don’t get in, I am going to go to UDC which is University of the District of Columbia and then transfer. So, I didn’t want to come, school was always hard for me. 5 years ago I saw myself not knowing what I even wanted to do. Being scared to go to college, failing in college. Where I am now I love being here. The school part is still kind of difficult, but I love the college experience. I met great people, I have just flourished and am grateful that I came.
Q- Can you talk about your campus involvement?
A- I started off as a member of Companion Champions, my freshman year. Then my sophomore year COVID hit and quarantine happened so we had to go home. Then we came back and I became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. Then I became president of Curls and Coils, and now I am on the cheerleading team. I also became a member of the cheerleading team the same year of becoming a Delta and being the president of Coils and Curls. I help out with Women’s Senate and go to their events. I try to go to everybody’s different events on campus and things like that.
Q- What advice would you give a student who is interested in becoming involved on campus, but does not know where to start?
A- I say just start by joining an organization, join something. Even if it is something like Curls and Coils or NCNW, Women’s Senate, Companion Champions, DMV club, join something, and get involved in some way. Go to programs, everybody has things on campus. If you like to dance join HV, if you like to model, join 1E, like to step join IStep, if you are Caribbean join ASA. It is something for everyone to do, it is just about wanting to do it and the willingness to do it. The willingness to let someone lead you that may be your peer that is running the org. If you want to get involved just get involved and do it at your own speed and your own pace. I was not that involved my freshman year, but as I got older that is when I got more involved. Just take your time and do it at your own pace. But I say definitely get involved that will determine everybody’s college experience. Everybody’s college experience is different. And the way Delaware and Del State is sometimes you have to be involved to have fun, be around certain people to have fun.
Q- What inspired you to join Curls and Coils Hair Care Association and furthermore take on a leadership position?
A- My natural hair.I became natural my sophomore year of high school and I just stuck with it. Like, now I love big hair, curly hair, afro’s all types of hair. I change my hair like every single week. Once I saw that they had an org here I decided to join and see what it’s about. I joined, I like it and that’s when I just decided to take on the president’s role. The president was leaving and nobody wanted to take on the role. I actually applied late and she was willing to accept my application late and then I got the role. People need to know more about natural hair. I feel like people sometimes need a space to talk about their hair, how frustrating it is, or how to handle it and all of that.
Q- Have you ever traveled outside the U.S? Where? Describe your experience.
A- Punta Cana. I went to Punta Cana. It was so much fun. I went there I think when I was 17, I stayed at a resort. There were two resorts, one for adults and the other for younger kids and teenagers, that is where I stayed with my sisters. It was fun, it was a good experience.
Q- In your opinion what does the future hold for America?
A- That is deep. I think that black people will take on more leadership roles. I feel like we are continuing to get more educated. I feel like we are tired of us being quiet. Even with what happened last summer with the riots and protests. More police enforcement will get exposed for the things they are doing wrong. More exposure, people will continue to come up with different medication, cure cancer. Everything is just going to evolve and get better over time.
Q- Are you interested in politics, why or why not?
A- I am not at all, no. And people will probably take that as me being ignorant or something, but it’s just a lot for me to handle. I can talk about it here and there, but I am not one to just turn on the news and watch the news. I am not a big fan of that, when it comes to politics it is just a lot of opinions. It’s just a lot. Like I will give my opinion, but the whole arguing back and forth on it I am just not into all of that.
Q- How did you handle the stay at home order during the pandemic? What kept you going and/or motivated?
A- I was sad. I handled it as well as I could. I am a social butterfly, so when I could not go out with my friends or just leave the house, I cried. I was crying, I felt like it was the end of the world. But I got into makeup, learned how to do different things. I was watching youtube all the time to try and find different things I could learn how to do or be good at. I just got into more stuff, I started working out more, and found more stuff to do to keep me active and motivated while I was in the house.
Q- How would you describe your philosophy of life? That is, how do you see this life and what principles get you grounded and moving forward?
A- My biggest principle is I am a christian, I do believe in God. That is my source, that is my center, and keeps me grounded. I have had a lot of stuff happen to me over the last year. My father passed last year at the beginning of January, COVID, so it was a lot to handle. The only thing that has kept me grounded was God, friendships, family, all of that. God keeps me grounded and being around people I love. Quality time is something I am very passionate about.
Q- How would you describe yourself to the world? Complete the sentence: I am….
A- I am strong.
Delaware State University is home to many more incredible young ladies, like Tiara Lee. With all of her accomplishments and contributions to DSU, she will surely be leaving her mark upon graduating in 2023. It is important to stay focused and make the best of your college experience.
“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” — Chris Grosser