#BaylorLights Profile: Sierra Raheem

April 30, 2019
Sierra Raheem
"I wanted to come to Baylor because in my earlier years, I actually went to a Christian private school, and having that early Christian education really shaped me to who I am today. Knowing that I could go to a school in my undergrad that was built on Christianity really made me want to go to Baylor. I wanted to see how could I insert my love for Christ into my career, and I believe Baylor really gave me that option to do that.

"I believe my purpose is to inspire people through my words. I usually don't tell people this because I like to wait until I get to know them, but I was born with Pierre Robin sequence. It's a rare birth defect, and basically it caused me to have a facial abnormality. My jaw was pushed back when I first was born, and I had breathing problems and a cleft palate. And if you know anything about a cleft palate, you're born with a speech impediment. For a lot of years in my earlier life, I actually had a speech impediment and I had to go through speech therapy.

"Despite that, I developed a love for speaking. Ironically, I loved to speak out loud and do a lot of stuff, even when I was in kindergarten. I remember I was selected to read a book to eighth graders -- which was a big deal when you're five, you know, reading a book to 13-year-olds. And so ever since then, I just developed this love for public speaking, because I felt like God gave me a voice for a reason -- to really inspire and let people know that it doesn't matter what you go through, as long as you have God and you're able to overcome those challenges.

"Coming here to Baylor and just being a black woman, I'm a double minority. I do bring a unique experience and a unique voice to many of my classes and to my classmates. ... I went to a mostly white high school, but we did not have a community like Baylor does. There were a number of us, but if we had a black student union, the meeting would be like once a month. It wasn't like a every week type of thing, but I remember whenever they tried to do something for Black History Month, it was always guaranteed to fail, because it was hard for them to get the administrators to see how important this was to us.

"So coming here to Baylor, I was so shocked to see how it really was a big family, this community, and that people knew everyone. For the most part, I know almost everyone who's African American that goes to Baylor, and that's because we have all these events that help us come together. I feel like it's an important thing to have."

Sierra Raheem
-- Junior professional writing major
-- Naperville, IL
-- One of thousands of #BaylorLights
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