She wrote a novel while still in high school and was valedictorian of the class of 2014, but Asia Leath stumbled a bit when she got to college. "It's been rough the whole way," Leath said. "My first semester I didn't do my best. It was a hard transition from high school to college, but I finally got it together and I've been working my way back."
Now, halfway through her junior year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Leath has brought her GPA up to 3.84 and hopes to eventually graduate magna cum laude. Majoring in communication studies and minoring in business, Leath is determined to succeed despite her initial setbacks. "It was hard having to be responsible for myself, stay focused, handle my own finances, and discover what I wanted. But I like that I've developed more independence."
In addition to taking tough classes, Leath volunteered last semester at Greensboro Urban Ministry, helping in the food pantry, and worked as an intern last summer for Accenture in its federal services department. "That was a really good experience," she recalled. Her project involved working to help private sector companies answer President Obama's call to action to aid refugees. "I had to do a lot of research on private sector companies and nongovernmental organizations to see how they could work together." Leath found that she enjoyed the challenging, unpredictable nature of the work. "There were a lot of challenges and work I didn't think I could do, but I did it. It was never boring, always interesting." She recently received an offer to return to Accenture this summer for another internship, which could possibly lead to a full-time job offer after graduation.
"Coming from at one point not wanting to go to college to having career goals," Leath reflected, "I like how I've grown since high school. People at IDEA always told me I could do it. They were always behind me and pushed me to do better. Having all those people to support you emotionally keeps you in a good place. That's how I handled all those challenges when I started college."
Between now and graduation, Leath aspires to remain on the Chancellor's List, join the communications honor society, and get her first book published. She's writing the sequel now. She said she hasn't planned out the whole book yet, but just writes as she's inspired. As her characters' stories unfold, so does Asia Leath's.