Born in Florida, Ashanti Buie moved to the Chicago area with her family when she was 5 years old. After a rocky childhood that involved many foster care placements and finally adoption, Ashanti moved around the city and suburbs most of her life.

She graduated from Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in the Bronzeville neighborhood in 2008, and attended classes at Argosy University that summer, but in her own words, she “wasn’t ready and wasn’t focused.”

She worked a few jobs after that, including in factories, retail, at the airport, and as a delivery driver, but none that she would call a career. One day, she saw a commercial for Kennedy-King College and after doing some research, thought she’d like to study something that had always interested her – media and communications. She was especially excited to learn that KKC had a radio station.

Just getting started at KKC was a challenge – in addition to the things most students have to worry about when they go to college, like class schedules and financial aid paperwork, Ashanti struggled with housing insecurity. But now that she was focused on her end goal, nothing was going to stop her from getting her associate degree.

Once she started classes, she took a full course load each semester, plus classes during two summer terms to finish in two years – all while working in the Math Department as part of her work study assignment. She was able to get hands-on experience at the WKKC radio station, even helping to host the Noon Café every Friday for a whole semester. Ashanti wants to take what she’s learned and start her own production company, but not before she gets her bachelor’s degree. In fall of 2018, Ashanti will head to Elmhurst College on a full scholarship.

Ashanti took advantage of the resources that KKC had to help her achieve her goals: she worked with Kenyon Douglass in the Transfer Center, joined One Million Degrees, utilized the fitness center, and spent some time at the Wellness Center during her tougher semesters. She also appreciated the help and guidance she received from staff, especially the Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid Office, and Math Lab, as well as faculty, especially Enid Wells, Ted Williams, Giano Cromley, Ayndreille Ward, and Nicholas Anyanwu.

To future students, Ashanti would say, “Apply yourself and take advantage of the many opportunities that college has to offer. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, but put in the work and believe in yourself. The sacrifices you will have to make in order to obtain your degree will be well worth it!”

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