Wednesday, December 16th was American University’s 130th commencement ceremony, and the first fall semester celebration in 10 years. The ceremony honored both August and December 2015 graduates of the university, including over 190 graduates from the School of Public Affairs.
Quentin Lamar Fulks, SPA/MA ’15, one of two student speakers at the ceremony, urged fellow graduates to pursue ambitions for “people other than ourselves.” Fulks shared that it was the ambition of his community that empowered him to leave his hometown of Ellaville, Ga., and, ultimately, to earn a master’s degree at AU.
“I am standing here today because of my mother and grandmother and the community they created around me,” Fulks said. His family, he said, “made it clear that I wasn’t allowed to quit on myself.”
“We may not always succeed in our own personal ambitions,” Fulks acknowledged. But fostering the dreams of others “will always help you find your own best self.”
“My passion is politics,” Fulks said in an interview after the ceremony. The 26-year-old aspires to a career as an elected official – a governor, senator or member of Congress. “These are the ambitions I’ve always had.”
Fulks was selected to speak on the basis of a variety of accomplishments, including academic standing. During the first year of his two-year master’s program, he represented SPA government students on the graduate student governance board. He began as an intern in the offices of U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the Democratic whip, and went on to be a political assistant for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Independent Expenditure and a campaign assistant for EMILY’s List, the political action committee that supports pro-choice Democratic women who seek office.
Fulks initially considered earning a law degree. But sitting in on a class on torts changed his mind and led him to graduate study in political science.
His time at AU “has embodied the idea I had of an education.” He said he especially appreciated the opportunity to apply classroom lessons to his work.
For the foreseeable future, Fulks plans to continue as political content manager for Priorities USA Action, a position he has held since last June.
Fulks is a 2012 graduate of Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, where he majored in political science and minored in sociology. He was co-founder and president of Georgia Southwestern State University Pre-Law Society.