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Honors Program Student Spotlight: Taquan Dewberry

Taquan Dewberry, First Year Senator and resident of the Honors Village
Taquan Dewberry, First Year Senator and resident of the Honors Village.

When he first stepped foot on NC State’s campus in August, University Honors Program (UHP) student Taquan Dewberry was uncertain of what his future held. As a first-generation traditional college student, he is beginning a journey that will set the tone for generations to come, but he had little knowledge about how to begin. However, soon after joining the Honors Village, he started to find his place through advocacy, academic excellence, and community service. 

Shortly after move-in day, Dewberry began planning to run for Student Government. He describes himself as an advocate, an innate trait which has been developed by the early experiences he has had with his peers and UHP advisors. 

“The relationship between Honors Villagers and the UHP staff is extremely valuable to people who are still in the formative stages of their college experiences,” he said. “It allows them to connect with professionals from diverse backgrounds and who have the ability to provide them with personalized advice on their career interests.”

This career advice is something that Dewberry, who is also a Franklin Scholar and double majoring in Computer Science and Philosophy, has been applying continuously to improve the many communities that he has become involved with on campus.

He attributes his time spent in Honors Seminars (Honors Program-specific courses) with the development of his ability to be an effective advocate for said communities, stating, “Honors Seminars have properly equipped me with the critical thinking and conversational capabilities necessary to explore a wide variety of issues facing students on campus, and I realize that they’re giving me multiple valid perspectives to an issue. This allows me to more effectively advocate for people because it helps me see all sides of an issue.”

Addressing issues faced by students on campus is extremely important for Dewberry, who was successful in his campaign to be elected as a first-year senator. 

When asked to reflect on this opportunity, he stated, “Firstly, I would like to say that I am overwhelmingly grateful for the outpouring of support that (my campaign,) ‘Think and Dewberry,’ was met with… Throughout my tenure in Student Government, I will continue to make sure I never forget the initial excitement and involvement surrounding the topics of ‘Safety, Solidarity, and Support’, with which I charged myself during my first-year campaign.”

Dewberry’s campaign developed its roots in the Honors Village, a place where he was able to openly collaborate with his peers about the issues that they felt were most relevant to their college experiences. He described the village environment as, “a direct path for knowing how to address potential issues on campus,” and a place where he can learn more about the resources that are currently available to students. 

Dewberry speaking about the importance of demonstrating diversity on campus after the third annual March Like Martin event hosted by the African American Cultural Center and Multicultural Student Affairs in January.
Dewberry speaking about the importance of demonstrating diversity on campus after the third annual March Like Martin event hosted by the African American Cultural Center and Multicultural Student Affairs in January” 

While he keeps busy with the Franklin Scholars Program, Goodnight Scholars Program, the UHP, and Student Government, Dewberry is doing all of these things with one end goal in mind; his dream of becoming a defense attorney specializing in pro bono work for under-resourced populations. For Dewberry, Student Government and community advocacy are the foundation for something far greater than himself. 

Each of these communities has contributed to his success, whether through focusing on his interdisciplinary thinking, or providing a network of support and like-minded peers. Combining these experiences, Dewberry was able to pass his first piece of legislation in Student Government, a provision that protects the NC State student directory from access by unauthorized individuals. 

“With my double majors in computer science and philosophy, I was specifically able to use both sides of my interdisciplinary education to coherently draft a piece of legislation to help secure the information and privacy of students on campus,” Dewberry said. “This was done by adding the provision for an NC State-affiliated ID to access the student directory.”

When asked to reflect upon his role as an advocate for his peers, Dewberry said, “I would like to state that first of all, that means the world to me. It means I am given the opportunity to do something about which I am extremely passionate, which is representing the student voice. I know what it feels like to be voiceless, and making sure I have the opportunity to represent anybody else who feels like that is extremely vital to me.”

Dewberry plans to continue representing the student voice so long as he is able, while remembering the roots that allowed him to be where he is now. Thinking back to when he had just reached the Honors Village, his new home, Dewberry finds strength in how far he has come. 

When asked what the greatest takeaway from his Honors Program and Honors Village experiences has been so far, he stated, “Advocacy and getting involved is meant for everybody. Anybody can do the work that we’re doing. If you want to get involved and express your voice, please do so. Get involved and reach out. Don’t be afraid to listen and express your opinion.”