The first DuBois Scholar speaks out


Jamarah A. Leverette

Photo by Dwight Luckey

Jamarah A. Leverette (C’02), the first recipient of the W.E.B. DuBois College House Endowed Scholarship, knows the strength and value of her voice in the community.

A founding member of DuBois College House discussion group Black Thought and a member of DuBois Faculty Master Howard Stevenson’s research team, which conducts community-based research, Leverette also serves as the internal relations coordinator for the student group UMOJA and contributes to The Vision, the independent African American student newspaper of the University. All of this is on top of double majoring in international relations and African studies and looking into a minor.

“I think they wanted to pick somebody who is not only academically solid, but who is also trying to better black people and improve their condition,” said Leverette, who was named the DuBois recipient at the Black Faculty-Student Night Oct. 7, sponsored by DuBois College House and the Afro-American Studies Program. The award is the first and only scholarship linked to college house residency.

During an early-morning interview, Leverette, a second-year DuBois resident, discussed other interests as well. “I’ve been doing theater since I was 8 years old, and I like to write poetry, but my main interest is freeing black people, specifically through education,” she said.

As the first DuBois scholar, she will undertake many public appearances to facilitate dialogue between black students and faculty from across the University. The DuBois Endowed Scholarship was established to strengthen the University’s student body, give exceptional young people the opportunity for a world-class education and encourage leaders with a commitment to African American culture.

Leverette, who comes from Oakland, Calif., plans to use the scholarship money to help her pay tuition costs. “I’m very honored, especially to be the first one [to receive this award]. I’d like to see it become a more powerful scholarship, a full scholarship to help black students be able to come to Penn and make a difference here.”

Originally published on October 28, 1999