When asked about her career goals, Serenity Dorsey does not hesitate.

“I want to be a congresswoman,” she shared. “I want to create laws and make change for my community. I want to be the change. I want to create laws that benefit us and keep us safe.”

Dorsey will pursue that goal as a political science major at Clark Atlanta University, the country’s first Southern Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Since middle school, she has wanted to attend an HBCU to “experience something I haven’t experienced because I go to a majority-white school.”

Dorsey will be in good company attending Clark Atlanta. Several current congressional representatives and senators have graduated from HBCUs, including Vice President Kamala Harris from Howard University.

Learning Leadership

Dorsey, a graduate of e3 Civic High School, credits her chosen path to what she learned as a participant in Project Ready, a college preparatory program launched by Urban League of San Diego County.

“I like the way they engage with the community,” she said. “I loved the speakers coming in and talking about their leadership skills… They had a couple of presentations that helped me further understand what I want to do.”

While the program focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, Dorsey said it also features information about social science majors. Project Ready also provides mentorship, leadership development, historical and cultural literacy, and career preparation assistance in partnership with National Urban League

Choosing Independence

Dorsey was well prepared for her college-going experience. She applied and was accepted to more than 20 universities.

“I’m a very indecisive person,” she said. “It was very hard picking which one I wanted to go to, especially since most of the colleges I was accepted to were out of state.”

She had a tough time making a decision, especially for something as momentous as attending college.

“The hardest thing was choosing the college and making sure I made the right choice for myself so I don’t regret it,” Dorsey shared.

It was a proud moment when she finally chose Clark Atlanta. In choosing an out-of-state university, Dorsey is particularly excited to be on her own and make her own decisions.

“I’m glad I’m moving into the next chapter and being independent,” Dorsey said. “Since I’m moving into a different state I get to learn more about myself in a different environment.”

Community support

Dorsey acknowledges that her scholarship helped her make the best choice for herself.

“College is very expensive,” she said. “[Going to college] helps us learn more about ourselves and our journey. It will move us forward towards our futures.”

Thanks to the support of the Urban League of San Diego County and scholarship donors at The San Diego Foundation, Dorsey can pursue her dream of being a congresswoman one day and positively impacting her community. 

Additionally, she will continue to receive support from The Foundation’s Community Scholars Initiative, which helps hundreds of young San Diegans prepare for, pay for and persist through college. The initiative is closely tied to The Foundation’s Strategic Plan priority dedicated to fostering equity of opportunity by enhancing opportunities to obtain college degrees for underrepresented San Diegans.

Learn more about the Community Scholars Initiative and the Community Scholarship Program.