Story and photos by Speakin’ Out News
Zoie Roberson is a recent 19-year-old University of Massachusetts Boston graduate from Huntsville, Alabama; she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a political science degree. As an early graduate, Roberson began college at a very young age. She was only 13 when she started dual enrolling at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, completing two years by the end of high school at the College Academy of Jemison High School. Roberson says, “Since I could remember, I’ve always been an early starter. I was the kid who adults would tell, ‘Be a child for once.’ I’ve always been full of ideas and full of ambition to achieve those ideas despite my circumstances. However, starting early does not always mean starting easy, but it does teach perseverance to overcome obstacles.”
Roberson is an aspiring attorney and seeks to make her way into politics. She says, “With the interconnectedness of our world, and our nation’s growing diversity, change is inevitable–and legislative change is imperative in order to behold a nation that is more equitable and inclusive for minority groups.” She believes that “adequate representation is a basis for effective legislative change.” “It’s important that leaders seek to connect and develop a deep understanding about all those they represent–talk with them, learn about them, socialize with them, or even learn their language,” she says. Roberson emphasizes language learning, even beyond the conventional sense, as a way to understand others; in fact, she loves learning languages to connect with others, including Spanish and Hindi, and has even been learning Chinese (Mandarin) for over two years. “How can one be an adequate representation of their constituents when they hardly know all of their constituents? This is why community-based initiatives are important–to get to know the people, getting them engaged, and learning about what they need and value. Although we are gradually progressing with respect to representation to effect more legislative change, much work is still to be done,” she says. Roberson also noted how studying abroad at Oxford University in the UK gave her even more insight into how thoroughly understanding others could boost foreign relations. She says, “If we learn to foster true understandings of who we’re working with, then perhaps we can learn how to better work with them to achieve the ends we’re looking for.”
Zoie sends a special thanks to former Huntsville City School Board member of District 1, Laurie McCaulley, the late Wilbert Brown, principal of the Academy of Academics and Arts (AAA), and impressionable instructors from Sruggs Academy CDCA, formerly known as First Baptist CDCA and Academy for Academics and Arts (AAA)for paving the foundations that brought Zoie to where she is today.
Roberson accredits her achievements and ambitions to God and her family. She is the daughter of Demond Roberson and Jemeana Smothers-Roberson, granddaughter of William Smothers, Pastor Emma White, and the late David Roberson and Flore Hall of Vicksburg, Mississippi.