Top Young Leader Awarded

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

January 30, 2006

We look to students as leaders of the future and there's one that stands out in our community. One community member was recently recognized by a national publication as one of the top 30 leaders under 30.

In honor of black history month, Ebony Magazine ranked rising stars, which include a news anchor in Atlanta, a Pastor and founder of a church in Memphis and a University of Virginia law student.

"It was just like, 'wow, I don't know how I got here. Thank you God for putting me here.' I was just shocked," said Raqiyyah Pippins, ranked one of the 30 leaders under 30 by Ebony Magazine.

3rd-Year law student Raqiyyah Pippins may be shocked by the award, but her fellow students aren't.

"She's just a phenomenal leader, and I think it just comes from her being such an approachable, friendly, happy person, that gets along so well with others," said student Hill Hardman, who is President of the Student Bar Association.

So what makes a good leader?

"It would have to be dedication, compassion, and patience," said Pippins.

That's exactly what the faculty at UVa sees in her.

"In a lot of ways, Raqiyyah typifies what we hope all of the Virginia law students will be, which is not only professionally skilled and not only ethically sound, but also with a strong sense of public responsibility," said Dean John Jeffries of the UVa School of Law. One of the projects she's working on as National Chair the Black Law Students Association is to encourage minority students to look at law school.

"They have a mock trial, which is amazing seeing these kids who are in high school. [It feels as if] they can combat me in these classrooms! [It's very rewarding] seeing that they are able to see other options that they have, especially in terms of higher education, and getting them thinking about it early on," said Pippins.

Raqiyyah went to High School in Hampton, Virginia and graduated from Stanford--being active in school organizations the whole way.

"She's smart, she's committed, she has a strong personality and she has an instinct for achievement. She'll be a great lawyer," said Jeffries.

Pippins has a job waiting for her in DC with a corporate law firm, but says someday she hopes to work in educational policy to teach children the importance of looking at their future. She is featured in this month's issue of Ebony magazine, which is still available on stands now.

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