Graduating student leader embodies service and spirit of ‘paying it forward’

When Kwesil Ezeh was choosing a college to attend, she had her hands full.

“I applied to 75 colleges and got into 71,” said Ezeh, political science and international relations double major and sociology minor on the pre-law track. Her parents advised her to pick her top 15 to tour. From there, Ezeh, from Newark, Delaware, would narrow down her decision — Tulane.

At Tulane, she could foresee expanding her exploration of the world and herself. She was also attracted to Tulane’s dedication to service — a pillar of her military high school.

“If I’m ever in a position that I can use my skills, my voice, my time and my efforts to help others, I unequivocally will do it,” she said.

She has shown that dedication to service across various leadership roles and organizations, including serving as president of the Black Pre-Law Society, a Green Wave Ambassador, vice president of public relations for the Diversity Fellow Program and a resident adviser, among many others. Some additional accolades include membership in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and national honor societies Pi Sigma Alpha and Alpha Lambda Delta, and she was crowned Homecoming Royalty in the fall of 2023.

Ezeh’s time at Tulane has “been nothing short of phenomenal.” Tulane not only challenged her academically but also personally.

“It’s made me ask myself, ‘What are your goals? What do you value as a leader and as a person?’” she said. “Being a Tulanian isn’t something I take lightly … it’s made me hold myself to a certain standard of excellence.”

Along with growth, Ezeh has cultivated a great sense of community, and has witnessed Tulane’s motto —  Not for one’s self, but for one’s own — show up time and time again.

“When you’re in such a community, you’re doing a disservice to everyone else in that community if you’re not paying it forward.”

She’s credited professors and mentors who have paid it forward for her along the way, including  School of Liberal Arts professors Scott Nolan, professor of practice of political science, and Christopher Fettweis, professor of political science. Both reassured her of her insights and contributions to the field.

“[Seeing] someone have so much faith in you when you don’t see it in yourself really changes your perspective on learning and also on what life can be after,” she said.

She also credits Nick Sparks, professor of practice of physics and engineering physics at the School of Science and Engineering, and Michele Adams, associate professor of sociology, with encouraging her to keep going throughout the challenges.

After graduating, Ezeh will work at Liberty Mutual as a claims specialist and will pursue a part-time Global Masters of Public Administration at the University of Pennsylvania.

Of her many accomplishments, Ezeh said, “I know that nothing that I’ve accomplished is of my own. I owe it all to every single Tulanian, my family and my friends who have supported me, helped me and invested in my success. My successes are our shared success.”