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Persistence Pays Off for Spelman's Co-salutatorian Kristen Walker

May 2019

Kristen Walker

In third-grade, a pigtailed Kristen Walker was told she was not ready to tackle advanced academic courses in her elementary school. Fast forward a decade, and Walker, a political science and Spanish double major, is co-salutatorian of Spelman’s class of 2019.

“Graduating as the valedictorian of my high school and now as the salutatorian from Spelman College allows me to look back and thank that little girl for not giving up and believing in her brilliance,” said Walker. She aspires to be an attorney and politician who represents the most disadvantaged communities and dismantles oppressive policies that seek to destruct rather than empower all.

The gifted and talented Richmond, Virginia native, will attend Harvard Law School beginning in the fall of 2021 after she completes a two-year stint in the Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. offices of McGuireWoods Law and Consulting Firm.

“I truly pride Spelman for encouraging me to continuously make space in spaces that were never made for Black women like me to operate in and never cower in my contributions or underestimate my worth and value,” said Walker. “After law school, I plan to run for office and serve as an advocate for criminal justice as well as education reform.”

With a resume that includes participating in the prestigious TRIALS Program at Harvard Law School; teaching English during the academic semester in Granada, Spain; and interning at the Georgia State Capitol, in the Office of U.S Senator Mark Warner, and in the Office of Congressman Al Lawson through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, she is well prepared to take on the world of law.

Walker also served as the co-director of Leadership and Civic Engagement for the Student Government Association during the 2018-19 academic year. Through her role with the organization, she assisted in the implementation of Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” initiative to increase the number of registered student voters on Spelman’s campus.

Start of QuoteSpelman taught me that the shoulders upon which I stand are great. This institution functions as a space of empowerment where I am constantly learning and reclaiming the deep history of my people. Therefore, Spelman has reinforced my confidence through an enriched understanding of those who have come before me and deepened my appreciation for the foundation that they have laid. Spelman has also taught me the importance of interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking.End of Quote