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Class of 2022 Valedictorian: Taylor Dews

May 2022

Spelman College Valedictorian Taylor DewsOn May 15, 2022, during Spelman College's Commencement exercises, Taylor Dews of Chesapeake, Virginia, will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in Spanish. She will also be recognized as one of five valedictorians in the Class of 2022, a first in the history of Spelman College. 

Dews earned this unique distinction as an honor student not for her excellent performance in her collegiate courses, but also for her participation in several programs including Spelman’s Social Justice Program, the Lowery Institute Scholar-Activist Program, and the UNCF Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship.  

In addition to her excellence in scholarship, Dews has the distinction of serving as the first president of the Spelman chapter of the National Action Network. In this capacity, she co-led many advocacy efforts, among them the 2022 student response to food, housing and transportation disparities in the Atlanta University Center and in the community near Howard University.  

During her summers, Dews continued her research as a sociology and anthropology major by participating in research programs at Johns University, Emory University, and the University of California at Berkeley. Each experience gave her content for her thesis, “Are We Kin? International Black Film Festivals, Cultural Transmission, and Black Feminist Transnationalism, an exploration of the Atlanta-based Bronze Lens Festival. 

These experiences and her excellence as a researcher, writer, film artist, and social justice activist also explain why Dews is being honored in several ways: graduating Summa Cum Laude from Spelman, being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and being named one of five valedictorians. She adds to this list of achievements the honor of becoming a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Eta Kappa Chapter.
In the fall, Dews will attend New York University to pursue a Ph.D. in Anthropology with a certificate in Culture and Media. She earned this honor and distinction for her achievements in research and writing during her four years of study at Spelman College. 

To the question, “What advice would you give new students and returning students about learning and achievement at Spelman, Dews answers: 

blue-quote-leftAlways make rest, grace, and community a priority. We realize our potential only when we are holistically well.” She adds that experiences at Spelman within theblue-quote-right classroom and outside the classroom taught her well the meaning of being well.  

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