BATON ROUGE, La. (BRProud) – Southern University Agricultural Sciences graduate Irene L. Lewis has been named the University’s Spring 2020 Chief Student Marshal, according to the SU Ag Center. The Chief Student Marshal the student graduating with the highest grade point average in the class.
“I am honored to serve as Chief Student Marshal to remind the Class of 2020 that we are resilient,” said Lewis a Plant and Soil Science major who graduated with a 3.9 grade point average.
Though she originally wanted to graduate as Chief Student Marshal, Lewis learned college is more than academics.
“I learned that my college experience was much more important than my grades,” said Lewis. “It is about the people you meet and the memories you make. I never would have thought I would experience “virtual graduation,” but here we are. I say all of that to say, even though life did not follow an exact path for me, I am glad we can still celebrate,” she added.
Like many graduates Lewis’ home flooded days before the start of her freshman year at college in 2016.
“It was difficult starting class almost immediately after losing the home I grew up in,” said Irene. “It was even more difficult watching my family have to bounce back and my siblings adjust to moving to a new town all in a matter of months,” expressed Irene. “I think watching how strong both my younger brother and sister were as well as having my parents, family, and friends there to love and support me helped me tremendously,” said Irene. “As I started at Southern in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, I also learned that more than anything, I had a family away from home and a support system that would bring me a long way”
As a college student, Lewis was elected the National Undergraduate President of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization for the 2019-2020 year. Lewis was named Region IV National Undergraduate Vice President of MANRRS for the 2018-2019 year representing college chapters in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. In the Southern University Chapter of MANRRS Lewis served as Secretary during the 2017-2018 academic year and Historian during the 2018-2019 year.
“Throughout college, I learned a lot about myself and my leadership abilities. I learned that, through balancing several organizations, responsibilities, and my personal life, I needed to take time to take care of me, my needs, and my wellbeing,” said Irene. “My professors in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences taught me how to build a community. My interests have evolved greatly from my freshman year, but throughout, they have demonstrated that my possibilities are endless,” she expressed.
Irene will spend the summer as an intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Lewis is headed to begin a Masters of Public Administration at The Ohio State University, where her focus will be food access policy. Lewis was also awarded a fully funded fellowship in Washington D.C.
Irene is a 22-year-old native of Baton Rouge. A 2016 graduate of Runnels High School, she is the daughter of Eric and Maura Lewis.