Next in our line up of black excellence, we have Renee Valentina. Renee is an Oxford graduate who through her hardwork and commitment to academia, has been awarded a full scholarship to study a masters in International Education Policy at Harvard University. Outside of her studies she has written for the Huffington Post, interned at the House of Commons and is currently working on a platform for Black students in education to centralise diversity opportunities and initiatives. Their aim is also to provide relevant tips for when applying to university and within several industries.

“It’s often difficult for me to describe the kind of change I desire to make as genuinely, it feels like as though it is something beyond my capacity to describe. At first it was manifest in a general wish to ensure that people remembered me vaguely, as someone who did and achieved things. As I grow older, gain a wealth of experiences and continue on this fleetingly short journey we call life, I realise it is less about me and what I did/do, but more about what others do as a result. It is more about changing the landscape and hearts of a nation, about awakening others to their latent talents, and empowering a generation to make use of their agency in the most equitable and fulfilling ways possible. To this end, I hope to impact the trajectories of the African and Caribbean diaspora both in the west and on the continent, in leveraging educational opportunities through higher education and beyond. To this end, I am inspired by Claudia Jones – a formidable woman of Caribbean descent, black British activist and founder of the Notting Hill carnival. Akin to Claudia, I hope to impact international policy’s and the balance of power to ensure that there are more sustainable solutions to global poverty and scarcity of resources. In essence, I intend to ‘make history’ by rewriting and in the rewrite, giving power and voice to the narratives of the diaspora long since silenced.”

 

“Some key influences would also definitely include my mother for her resilience and strength in the face of adversity, my faith (God) for His faithfulness in times of turbulence, and my best friend Courtney, for her uncompromising and unwavering faith in me during the moments I had least faith in myself.”

 

By Renee Valentina // Stephanie Okereafor