Graduate Spotlight: Yealie Ulaba-Samura ’18

When Yealie Ulaba-Samura ’18 envisions her future career, she sees an intersection between people and politics. “Right now, I’m focusing on political psychology and why people are drawn to candidates,” says Yealie, a junior at Quinnipiac University majoring in psychology with a double minor in political science and theater. “I’m interested in political analysis, campaign management, or even political commentary.”

Taking Initiative

Not content to simply take courses, Yealie sought out an internship to broaden her knowledge and gain real-world experience in the field. “I love learning about the mind and why we think the way we do, and I love the classes I’m taking,” she says. “But I wanted more.” When she saw a posting at her school for a research assistant internship at Yale School of Medicine, she jumped at the opportunity. “I went on an interview, and I got it!” 

Yealie’s internship at Yale focuses on the different facets of obsessive-compulsive disorder. “I sit in on rounds, summarize phone screenings, and assist wherever I’m needed within the clinic,” she says. “I even had the chance to help write a paper that will be published in an academic journal.”

Honing Leadership Skills 

Being proactive is a key component of Yealie’s natural leadership ability. She currently serves as head of Quinnipiac’s Black Student Union and is also a resident assistant and Sawhney Leadership Program fellow.
“I held student government positions at Beekman High School, and I’ve always pushed myself to take on leadership roles,” says Yealie, who graduated from high school a year early. “I wanted to do the same in college.” She initially joined the Black Student Union as a member but aspired to make a bigger impact. Yealie was thrilled when the members voted for her to lead the club.

As a resident assistant for her school’s multicultural living-learning community, one of several shared residential environments on campus, Yealie is able to tap her leadership skills in a more personal way. “I work with freshman of color and help them establish a community, starting with campus life,” she says.

Despite her full schedule, Yealie makes time to feed her acting bug. She was a part of the TADA! Youth Theater as a teenager and has continued pursuing the craft in college. “I was recently in Quinnipiac’s play lab, which workshops student-written and directed plays. It was my first time acting in college.” It won’t be her last.

A Love of Learning 

Yealie’s inherent drive and determination were nurtured as a student at Harlem Academy, and she believes it helped to prepare her for where she is today. “Harlem Academy instilled a passion for learning,” she says. “I’m not afraid to take on challenging courses. Learning should be something that you want to pursue. Harlem Academy encouraged our curiosity, and I’ve taken that with me.”

Today, as Yealie juggles everything on her plate, she admits that taking time for herself amid her many responsibilities can be hard. So, she reminds herself of one important thing: balance. “I’m passionate about everything I’m doing but I make sure to schedule ‘Yealie time’ each day, and that helps.”
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Harlem Academy is an independent school (grades K-8) that drives equity of opportunity for promising students, guiding them to thrive at the highest academic levels and one day make a mark on the world.