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By Yordan Villalon

Adaily commute from Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood to Lasell University does anything but slow Kemley Joseph '23 down. She’s currently in her sophomore alternative year as a Lasell Works student, so all of her coursework is online until fall 2021. Commuter students and Lasell Works off-campus students have the same opportunities to engage on campus beyond the classroom as residents do, but it takes an intentional effort, she says. That effort has paid off for her — the second-year psychology major is a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology; the Beccaria Criminal Justice Society; the Student Government Association as its commuter representative; and served as an orientation leader this summer.

Your involvement is incredible! How do you juggle it all?
In high school, I was a member of the student government, the debate team, and earned varsity letters in basketball and volleyball. So, I’ve had practice being busy, but college takes it to a new level. It’s not entirely new for me. Plus, my time management has improved as a result of being a commuter student.

That sounds like a blueprint for success. What drives your motivation?
After graduating from Lasell, I want to go to law school. During my undergraduate years I want to intern at a competitive law firm where I can build my network and get career experience. My family is my number one motivator. They have worked nonstop and sacrificed a great deal for me to pursue my dreams. I will not let them down.

How do you spend your time at Lasell?
I use my down-time between classes with intent, whether it’s homework, networking, or reviewing notes. I also go out of my way to make sure I meet new people. As a commuter, you have to be open to seeking out those new friends and connections. In my first year, I bonded with two other commuter students. We make lunch dates and communicate all the time!

What do you listen to on your drive to and from campus?
I play “Great One” by Jessie Reyez every day. The lyrics resonate with me: “I wanna make a billion dollars | Bring it to my pops | Say, ‘Daddy what you prayed for.’” My father died in the line of duty as a police officer in Haiti and the song was written for the artist’s father who also passed away. It means a lot to me. My father and I always talked about all that we would accomplish, and I want to make him proud. Plus, I love Haitian music!

How else does your Haitian heritage play into your life?
Haiti has influenced my discipline and determination to succeed. There is a lack of Haitian representation at Lasell that has inspired me to be a face that others can recognize and be proud of. I want to represent Haiti and all the things that the country and its people have to offer. 

Photo by Margaret Brochu