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Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2021

Lonnye Blake Bower

Lonnye Blake Bower was a college student in 1997, but never completed her degree. When looking for an online program, she found Arizona State University. Although she started out as a computer science major, she chose to pursue information technology at ASU because it more closely matched her 20 years of work experience.

“My friends and family have seen how much joy I’ve experienced while back in school,” Bower says. “I believe I’ve had too many ‘aha!’ moments to count ever since I re-enrolled and made the commitment to myself to finally finish my degree. These moments were a confirmation that I had made the right decision to come back to school.”

Bower worked full-time while attending school, but also spent time helping peers in her classes. She was partly inspired to go back to school after volunteering for a few years with the Scholarship Steering Committee for the Greater Seattle Business Association, which awards scholarships to LGBTQ and allied students who exhibit leadership potential, demonstrate strong academic abilities and are actively involved in their schools and community.

“I went into the volunteer role thinking the entire process would be fun and believing that each of the applicants would have uplifting stories to share,” Bower says. “What I found was many students still struggle for acceptance from their friends and even their families. My heart went out to each of the applicants. I did not anticipate being moved by so many stories of struggle met with perseverance and achievement. The volunteer experience moved me so deeply that I wanted to do more. Here I am now, proudly a graduate of ASU, looking forward to being a positive influence on younger LGBTQ+ students. If they see that I can do this after being out of school for over 18 years, they may be inspired to pursue all of their dreams.”

After graduation, Bower will be attending graduate school at Johns Hopkins University remotely from Kona, Hawaii.

In the future, she wants to teach in an engineering program at a university.

“I would love to see the percentage of females graduating with an engineering degree increase from under 30% to 50% or more,” Bower says. “I would also love to see more female engineering professors. I have an opportunity to show girls and young women who are interested in engineering that it is possible to be a successful woman in engineering and they should pursue their dreams.”  

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ Spring 2021 class here.

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