Resilience – Lovely Randle ’16 Becomes First Generation College Graduate
Lovely Randle ’16 MPA came to the United States as a child after being granted asylum from Haiti with her family. “We had nothing but the clothes on our backs,” Randle said as she recalled life growing up in shelters. “I always held onto the fact that the adversity wouldn’t last forever. It made me more resilient.”
Randle used that resilience on the road to attaining her master’s in public administration, health services administration. She focused her thesis on the correlations between childhood obesity, availability of fast food establishments, median household income and poverty rates in Elizabeth. Randle moved to Elizabeth when she was 11 years old, and her connection to the town strengthened her commitment to the research. Her work caught the attention of faculty and professionals in the field, and garnered her an invitation to present at the Society for Public Health Education’s 68th Annual Conference in Denver. Randle became the first MPA student at Kean to present a thesis at a national conference.
“It blows my mind that I am not only the first in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree, the first to earn a master’s degree, and now the first Kean MPA student to present a thesis at a national conference,” she said.
“I always held onto the fact that the adversity wouldn’t last forever. It made me more resilient.”
Randle was also asked to present her work at Kean Research Days, an annual event showcasing and celebrating impactful research. Her findings have the potential to influence local lawmakers on existing health issues affecting the welfare of Elizabeth’s residents, something that makes Randle proud. Growing up, Randle took advantage of all opportunities that came her way. During her sophomore year of high school, she joined a youth program at the Elizabeth Presbyterian Center where her talents were recognized, and she was inspired to strive for more.
“I saw this as one of the turning points of my life,” said Randle, who later joined the Building Future Leaders program, an effort led by the City of Elizabeth’s Office of Youth Services, where she remained throughout high school. Randle worked full time for the City of Elizabeth while she earned her degree from New Jersey City University. She and her husband, Timothy, also raised their two children, Anayah and Timothy Jr., whom she said drive her to succeed. “I refused to be a statistic,” she said. “It was so worth it. You don’t have to let your circumstances rule you.”
Looking ahead to her future and the future of her children, Randle has unwavering hope and a desire to help those facing similar obstacles. “I need to serve as a blueprint for others, particularly young women, especially women of color,” she said.