Group brings Liberian valedictorian to study in W-S

Group brings Liberian valedictorian to study in W-S
July 13
04:00 2017

The Liberian Organization of the Piedmont (LOP) gave Lexanndine Taylor, who graduated top of her class at the University of Liberia, a chance to study at Wake Forest University (WFU) this summer.

Taylor, who received her accounting degree in December, is the valedictorian of the 97th graduating class of the University of Liberia with a 3.87 GPA. Taylor has been pushing herself her entire life. She entered college early and graduated when she was just 20 years old. She interned at a Liberian office of the global accounting firm Baker Tiley, where she’s now employed.

WFU provided LOP with a full scholarship for a Liberian student to attend its Summer Management Program held on its Reynolda campus from May 23 through June 29. The “business boot camp” is designed to increase the marketability and opportunities for its participants. The scholarship covered the nearly $10,000 tuition for the program along with on-campus housing while she was in classes. She stayed with an LOP member family between the program’s end and when she flew back to Liberia this week. 

Before she left, Taylor said she learned a lot from the experience. She said the WFU program had a greater emphasis on teamwork and presentations than in her Liberian classes.

“Now I understand it’s not just about the grades; it’s more about the experience and how I can use my education to better develop myself and other people around me,” she said.

She said she thought Winston-Salem was a nice city and was struck by how much pride residents take in the city and its longtime business institutions like Krispy Kreme. She hopes to return to WFU for her master’s degree.

LOP President James Hunder said Liberia is still a country recovering from a long period of civil war that destroyed its institutions. Since the war ended in 2003, Hunder said Liberia “has been doing well but not without serious challenges,” which were complicated by an Ebola outbreak a couple years ago. He said scholarships like the one Taylor received give Liberians educational opportunities they don’t currently have in their country.

“It helps the human capacity building in Liberia,” he said.

He said WFU has given the LOP scholarships for Liberian students to participate in its programs before. Livingstone College is providing an opportunity for two Liberian students to come there in August. Hunder said he hopes those collaborations between the LOP and area colleges and universities continue. The LOP’s future plans include building housing for Liberian students who visit Winston-Salem.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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