CISLA Alumna Dou’Jae graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and acceptances to Brown, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Spelman College. But getting there, wasn’t always easy: she showed a great deal of strength and perseverance in overcoming many challenges. As the oldest in her family, she took on a great deal of responsibility once her father passed away during her 10th grade year. Living with her disabled grandmother and younger sister, her life’s circumstances demanded that she grow up quickly. “At a young age, I be- came the ‘man’ of my family,” she said, “I aged twenty years in one day in order to provide for them. Having fun and being a kid was not an option anymore.”
Dou’jae experienced injustice at a young age, and saw a need in her family and in her com- munity that she knew she had the ability to fill. She understood the value of her education and with the support of CISLA and the school community, she worked unrelentingly to rise above every challenge she faced. Dou'Jae achieved straight As for the majority of her high school career and she took the initiative to seek out assistance and guidance from teachers, school counselors, and community organizations when she needed it. With support from the CISLA team, she sought out available opportunities like tutoring, CAA’s STEAM program, and col- lege and workplace visits. A 2016 recipient of the JP Scholarship through CIS, she began UCLA in the fall of 2016, and will become the first in her family to obtain a college degree. Dou’Jae is majoring in African American studies and ended her first year with a 3.6 GPA.
Her drive for excellence and passion for law stem from a deep desire to help others overcome the challenges she experienced. “I will become a lawyer, and I will eventually open my own law firm dedicated to serving low-income families for affordable prices. I can’t change the fact that my father was killed, but I can do everything in my power to lighten the load for others. I continue to work my hardest in the most difficult situations for all the future children I will be helping; to ease the pain that comes along with not receiving justice. That is what drives me to relentlessly pursue academic excellence and prepare myself for the future.”