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Alumni Spotlight: Emberlin Leja Class of 2016

It’s community engagement that has been a driving force for Altmar-Parish-Williamstown alumna Emberlin Leja.

Leja is in her final year at Syracuse University, where she’s majoring in sociology, citizenship and civic engagement. During her time at SU, she’s had many opportunities to work with the community, including being a large factor in organizing Syracuse’s 500 person-climate strike in September.

“I chose this path because public policy and civic engagement are lifelong learning experiences where allyship, advocacy and activism with our most vulnerable populations should be the cornerstone of decision-making in U.S. policy,” said Leja. “I want to be a part of the younger generation of civically engaged young people who help bring these ideals to fruition.”

Leja said the teachers at APW helped prepare her for the future and encouraged her not to be afraid of moving forward with her goals. Her favorite classes were economics and government, she said, noting that they gave her the most challenges and a true taste of her academic and career passions. She credited Adam Deyoe as an instructor who held her accountable and was extremely influential in her life.

As she works toward an MPA, she wanted to give her advice to future students who aren’t sure what their future holds.

“Whatever you think you’re capable of, you can probably do so much more,” said Leja. “Aim high and be introspective. Embrace and be proud of things you’ve accomplished, but always challenge yourself and say, ‘I can do better.’”