When 22-year-old Essence Frazier received the letter from Cheyney University President Arron Walton informing her she had been chosen as class salutatorian, she was astonished.
“It was energizing and a complete validation of all my hard work at Cheyney,” said Frazier. “It takes a lot of effort and determination to get accepted to a great university and even more to understand the personal responsibility you’re taking on.”
Frazier has pursued a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in social relations concentrating in criminal justice. In her three years as a Cheyney student she has consistently maintained a 4.0 GPA. She transferred to Cheyney after a year at Harrisburg Area Community College.
Her time at Cheyney University has been well spent since she began her studies in 2018 as a Cheyney Honors student. She has served as president and past vice president of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the nation’s largest accredited leadership honor society. She is a Thurgood Marshal College Fund scholar and president of the National Council of Negro Women. In six semesters she has represented the university through her support on the Judicial Board and has assisted her fellow students and professors as a Campus Influencer, Peer Mentor, Summer Bridge Mentor and a Title XI Ambassador.
Her academic roles and achievements have helped her pursue a passion she has had since the fifth grade – understanding why crime happens.
“I want to get into the minds of individuals and understand their reasons for committing crimes and the ways they go about committing it,” said Frazier. “I love figuring things out. My goal is to become an FBI profiler.”
Her psychology professors, Dr. Christopher Barnes and Dr. Tamika Thomas, have had a significant impact on her academic success and helped her develop a career pathway.
“Dr. Barnes and Dr. Thomas have helped me understand my career options and they have always reminded me the importance of the field of psychology and the benefit it has on society,” she said. “I always knew that I wanted to work for the FBI as a criminal profiler. Since taking classes with both professors, I feel more confident it is the right choice for me.”
According to Frazier, the classes she took under Dr. Barnes and Dr. Thomas all have essential components that will assist her future career.
“Essence thrives at everything she works toward achieving. She is motivated to be the best and to make those around her better in-and-outside the classroom,” said Dr. Barnes. “I’m honored to have helped her grow academically. Ensuring that I was able to encourage her intellectual curiosity when teaching made me a better teacher.”
While she’s not going straight to the bureau after graduation, she is taking the next step toward gaining professional experience through an internship with the Altria Group in Richmond, Virginia working in consumer marketplace insights. She previously interned with the company last summer and during the fall semester.
“My goal is to develop strong enough professional ties and experience so that it will help when my time comes to join the FBI,” said Frazier. “My education at Cheyney helped me receive the internship and I believe it will be a steppingstone to other great things.”