In The Light – Ayanna Williams

Deryn Varney

Senior Ayanna Williams knows how to get involved. You may have seen her around. In high school, Williams played a lot of sports, but when she got to college she wanted to expand her interests.

“I really wanted to branch out,” Williams said. She definitely has.

During her time at Colgate, Williams has been involved in a wide array of activities from student organizations like WRCU radio and The Maroon-News to non-profit work with the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and participation in an alternative break relief trip to Louisiana. She is studying sociology and geography and miraculously manages to balance academics with family, friends and leadership roles in organizations across campus.

Williams is currently department manager of RESLIFE, a senior admissions intern and a university church deacon. She’s also a student adviser for the Colgate Activities Board (CAB), which organizes weekend trips out of town as well as the Saturday Nite Music Series at the Barge Canal Coffe Company on Lebanon Street. Her favorite part about being in student adviser now is that she got to work up through the ranks, starting out as a committee member freshman year. Plus, there are certain benefits to being a leader of CAB.

“Dealing with that much money is a thrill,” Williams said.

Her future plans are even more ambitious, although they may not involve handling tons of cash.

“I want to work in public health,” Williams said modestly.

Before doing that, though, she plans to head home to Bowie, Maryland, so she can hang out with her parents and brothers to show them that they are important to her. Later, she wants to work with international health care policy and perhaps join the Peace Corps. She has plans to return to Washington, D.C., where she grew up, and look at the Medicare and Medicaid programs to study the way our health care system relates to those of other countries.

“Colgate’s really been a whirlwind for me,” Williams said.

She emphasized that she feels strongly about how important it is to get involved, and she has clearly taught by example. She has no quote to live by, but there was one important thing that she took away from Colgate.

“You can either sit around and watch people do something or you can get up and do it,” Williams said.