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This graduation season has been a busy one for Ashley Williams. According to Because of Them We Can, Williams graced two graduation stages within the same week; receiving her master’s degree and a law degree from two different universities.

Williams, who has a passion for political advocacy and civic engagement, earned a master’s degree in Political Management from George Washington University. Two days after the Washington, D.C.-based commencement ceremony she traveled to Philadelphia to receive her JD from the University of Pennsylvania. She started her journey at George Washington University in 2015. The political management program allowed her to take online courses and Williams saw it as the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the virtual option and pursue another degree. She later applied and was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She pursued both degrees all while serving as a Special Advisor and Director of Special Projects at the State Department. She also studied abroad in Tokyo.

Williams’ accomplishments didn’t come easy. She had to continually readjust her schedule and priorities to find a balance between being in both programs. “A lot of people wondered why I continued with my master’s after starting law school, but both stimulated my mind in different ways. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to do both, but it did require sacrifice and discipline,” she said. “During my first year of school, I stopped my Master’s program so I could focus on law full time. The summer following my first year, I resumed my Master’s program and simultaneously did law and my Master’s until I completed my Master’s in December of 2018—which I did while I was studying abroad in Tokyo.”

She hopes that her story will encourage others to stop limiting themselves and be unapologetic about accomplishing their goals. Williams is the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic.

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