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Youth Leadership: How This N. Carolina Senior Challenges Herself To Be the Best

On a chilly February afternoon, Tamia Burgess sat for about an hour with me at her high school to discuss being a young leader in celebration of Youth Leadership Month. The first thing I noticed is that she seemed just as excited to talk to me as I was to her. We were both sporting our North Carolina State University gear in preparation for that day, making things extra special.

 

Tamia is the youngest of two siblings who attends Independence High School in Charlotte, NC. She’s a native Charlottean that loves hanging with her friends and grabbing a nap when she can. Tamia plays soccer, basketball, and works a part-time job all while maintaining academic excellence in the top 10 in her graduating class…a true leader for her fellow underclassmen.   We talked about school, sports, college, the future, and I’m so excited to share our talk with you. SwagHer family, meet Tamia Burgess.

 

SCHOOL & SPORTS

 

Kim: You’re in the engineering program at Independence. What’s your favorite part of the engineering program?

Tamia: I love the fact that we do a lot of collaboration and hands-on activities. So, it allows us get other people’s ideas in order to create things that we want to create. There’s a class, Civil Engineering and Architecture, where we create affordable housing. We designed an affordable housing home—it was a 900 square foot home and we had to make sure there was certain stuff in there that’s certified for people, accessible for people in wheelchairs. It allows us to expand our horizons with that. So, that was fun.

 

Kim: Any other favorite subjects?

Tamia: I do like science sometimes.  It just depends, like I can do Biology, but Chemistry, I don’t know.

 

Kim: Basketball, check. What other sports do you play?

Tamia: Yea, I play soccer too. I’ve actually been playing that longer than I’ve been playing basketball.

 

Kim: What got you into basketball? 

Tamia: My brother because he plays. So, I was like I might as well try it out and see how it goes.

 

Kim: It seems to have served you well!

Tamia: So far, it has!

 

Kim: It has to be tough, some days, juggling academic awesomeness and sports.  Takes quite a bit of courage and commitment. What drives you to excel?

Tamia: I mean, it’s fun.  Like, the extra-curriculars are fun.  I do enjoy being around the people I’m around on a daily.  And it gives me something to do instead of just sitting around at the house all day. And at the school, there’s fun. Have fun.

 

Kim: What has been your greatest success? Biggest challenge?

Tamia: My biggest success- I’m very surprised I was able to juggle the sports and school through all four of these years. I was like, I don’t know…Am I gone make it? Because I know high school sports is not easy and it’s a lot. It’s a big commitment. I’m glad I was able to do that and I’m glad I like doing it. Um, biggest challenge biggest challenge. (long pause) What’s my biggest challenge?

Tamia Burgess & Kim Cross

Kim: That’s so awesome! Is it one of those things where it’s your perspective?

Tamia: Right. I like being challenged. So it’s like, I don’t see a disadvantage to not being challenged. So, I don’t know…

 

Kim: In the vein of focus, how have you managed that?

Tamia: When I need to get something done, I try to keep all distractions away from me in that moment so I can get it done.  Because yea, I get distracted too.  So, if I don’t get something done when it needs to get done, then it’s probably not going to get done until that last minute. Cause…procrastination.

 

Kim: So, most of us have someone we look up to to keep us on track…role models; whether they know they help us or not. Who are your role models and how do they keep you on track?

Tamia: Actually, my parents and my brother because I go to them when I need help the most. And then I go to my brother if, like, I need anything. So, yea, they keep me on track, They make sure I stay on track and if I need help with any type of assignment or essay, I just go to them for help.

 

Kim: What’s your favorite quote?

Tamia: Don’t count the days, make the days count.

 

COLLEGE & FUTURE PLANS

 

Kim: I love that.  I’ll be sure to add that one to my list. So, you’re a senior…what do you dream about being when you “grow up”? 

Tamia: I want to go into the biomedical engineering field.

 

Kim: Oh wow! That’s so cool. Many congrats on being accepted to North Carolina State University! Have you decided on what you want to take up there? Is it their engineering program?

Tamia: Yes, that’s why I’m attending there.

 

Kim: I pray much much success for you during your time in college. But what sparked your interest in your field of study?

Tamia: So my parents are both in the IT/Computer Science field.  And we’re a math and science family, so I knew I wanted to do something in math and science.  Then I did my research, so at first it was Computer Engineering, but then I was like I don’t know if I really want to do that.  I know I want to be in the medical field; but I can’t do blood. So, I can’t do nursing or none of that, I’m like I gotta find something.  Then I was like, I know I want to do something with technology too. So biomedical engineering gives me the best of both.

 

Kim: I know you’re young with lots of time to figure out what you want to do.  But what’s one goal you want to accomplish in five years…right after college?

Tamia: As I get out, I want to have a job set up or go to graduate school.

ADVICE TO OTHER HIGH SCHOOLERS

 

Kim: Last question. You’re team captain and in the top 10 in your graduating class.  This question is important because I can see your leadership qualities; your drive, your focus, and your ability to go into things with the right attitude. I think you are a great example of what the younger students – current freshmen, juniors, and sophmores – can strive to be and a person they can look up to. So in terms of things you would tell them…what advice would you give?

Tamia: To merely enjoy these moments, because they may seem hard and frustrating but you’ll look back and see that these are some of the best times you’ve had. And then just try your best and stay focused, mainly.

 

It was such a joy to interview Tamia and get to know her. Her mindset and wisdom at such a young age are so encouraging. I look forward to seeing her take the lead in changing lives through her work in biomedical engineering at my alma mater, NCSU!

 

Kim Cross | Kim is the owner and Happy Skin Formulator at Zhi Bath & Body, a natural skincare shop based in Charlotte, NC.  She has been in the beauty industry for the last 30 years; working both as a stylist and skincare formulator.  Having dealt with severe psoriasis for over 20 years, she knows the hardship of finding products that are gentle, good for the skin, and smell amazing. 16 years of research and formulating has resulted in a goat milk skincare and soy candle line that is simply amazing. Helping you love you…naturally. 

 

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  1. […] Kim Cross | Kim is the owner and Happy Skin Formulator at Zhi Bath & Body, a natural skincare shop based in Charlotte, NC.  She has been in the beauty industry for the last 30 years; working both as a stylist and skincare formulator.  Having dealt with severe psoriasis for over 20 years, she knows the hardship of finding products that are gentle, good for the skin, and smell amazing. 16 years of research and formulating has resulted in a goat milk skincare and soy candle line that is simply amazing. Helping you love you…naturally. […]

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