Forman Scholar Tiasia Tatem Inspires Others to Work Towards Social Good

Tiasia Tatem wants to be an inspiration for the young people that she hopes to serve someday. With her degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, Tiasia aspires to become an advocate for children in need, especially those in the juvenile justice system.   

Tiasia kickstarted her college experience living on campus at Lynchburg College in Virginia. Following her sophomore year, she transferred back home to New Jersey, where she spent the rest of her college career living with her family and commuting to Rutgers University in Camden. While most people might be intimidated by the process of changing schools and commuting after having lived on campus, Tiasia felt that the change helped enrich her college experience.

“I think because I transferred there from Lynchburg College during my sophomore year, I got to explore being on my own and being more independent,” she said. “It was an interesting adjustment coming back home and commuting because I was able to see both sides of the college experience through both living on campus and commuting.”

During her time at Rutgers, Tiasia was able to take advantage of many valuable real-life experiences that have helped propel her onto the path of helping those who need it the most.

“I got to do a clinical for my major where I was able to work with a girl in the juvenile system for a semester” Tiasia said. “I was also able to study abroad in London, Scotland, and Dublin, where I took classes that studied and compared the justice systems, especially the juvenile justice system, of both the U.S. and the United Kingdom.”

In addition to her classes and work experiences, Tiasia says her mother, a social worker herself, is her biggest inspiration for wanting to spend her life helping others. While Tiasia is more interested in the legal aspect of social work and helping children, she says that because she was exposed to her mother’s work from such an early age, it helped her see the value in guiding others and sparked her love of both the law and working with children.

Now, she is hoping to be accepted to either the Rutgers School of Social Work to get her master’s degree in social work, or the Rutgers Law School where she would study to become a juvenile defense attorney.    

Tiasia’s passion for helping young people is not just limited to her career aspirations, but also her love of basketball, as the coach of the Kingsway High School Junior Varsity Girls Basketball team in Woolwich, NJ.

While she says she’s still setting a path for herself, Tiasia has some worthwhile advice for other Forman S. Acton Foundation Scholars and students in general, who are just entering college or graduating this year.

“Always try to put yourself out there,” she said. “You really only get four years and they do go by fast, so if there is an opportunity that comes up, whether that’s study abroad, a job, an internship, just jump right in and do it.”

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