Scholars Speak: Guest Blog by Forman Scholar Ayanna Chapman

Ayanna Chapman shares her thoughts to our  Scholars Speak student blog series. Ayanna is a 2020 graduate of Rowan University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. 

Read on to hear about Ayanna’s experiences in college, how she handled a senior year plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance she places on being a global citizen. 

What does pursuing a college degree mean to you?  

It means I am able to do what not many in my family lineage were able to do. I can now pursue a career or continue my education, and I’ll always know I’ve accomplished something great. 

What’s something you didn’t know during your first year in college that you wish you knew?  

It’s okay to ask questions and not know what you’re doing. Most people don’t.

What is your most memorable academic moment from your time in college? 

My most memorable academic moment was the week I left for spring break my senior year and never physically returned to Rowan’s campus because of the coronavirus. I had to learn to manage my studies – and even graduate – completely online. 

Tell us a time when you overcame a challenge. 

The COVID-19 pandemic posed a major challenge to my senior year. In an instant, everything in New Jersey shut down and transitioned online, including the world of higher education. I then had to deal with a global pandemic and the prospect of finishing my studies far from my actual classrooms on Rowan’s campus. 

For people who may not know about the Foundation, what role has the Foundation played in your educational journey?  

Without the Foundation and the support that it provided, I would not have been provided so many opportunities to embark upon new experiences. For instance, I studied abroad in the Dominican Republic – one of the best experiences of my life – and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Foundation. 

As someone who grew up in either Salem or the Salem area, how has your community shaped your upbringing, and what do you think is needed to ensure the best future for Salem? 

My community has shaped my upbringing through the International Baccalaureate classes I took at Salem High School, which allowed me to develop as a global citizen. I think to ensure the best future for Salem it is imperative that students become globally and culturally aware. They need more experience venturing outside of Salem and even outside the state of New Jersey. 

If you had to give one piece of advice to a student who is applying for college, what would it be and why?  


Don’t be afraid to apply to a school that is outside New Jersey or study abroad for a semester. It’s great to get a fresh start and experience new things.