Ali Santiago

Ali Santiago

The Meredith ring, better known as the onyx because of its distinctive black stone, is one of the ways alumnae recognize one another once they’re out in the world.

Graduating senior Ali Santiago, ’15, said her onyx reminds her of the diligence and commitment that went into her Meredith education.

“Every time I look down at my onyx I don’t see a fashion accessory. It’s a reminder of the long shifts, late hours studying, and papers written. And ring dinner really made that special for me, because I know that we are a school full of hard working and dedicated women.”

Like many Meredith students, Ali managed a full load during her four years. In addition to pursuing a double major in social work and psychology, she completed two internships, was a resident assistant and a community assistant in The Oaks, and an officer for Spectrum, a student organization. She also held down a job off campus to help pay for her education.

“The balance between work, activities, and academics has been difficult at times, but Meredith College and my education have been 100% worth it.”

Part of what made her education worth the effort was the outstanding support she found among faculty, particularly her advisor, Professor of Psychology Cynthia Edwards, whom she met at freshman orientation.

“She immediately made me feel welcome and like I was a part of the Meredith community. I could go on and on about what an incredible mentor and role model she has been to me the past four years.”

As a double major, Ali was also guided by social work faculty members Joy Learman and Christa Riker-Sheets.

“From sending me emails about opportunities, attending events in the community that I’ve invited them to, or just giving me words of encouragement or advice, they both go above and beyond to make their students feel well connected and supported.”

This strong student won’t have much time to rest after commencement – she’s starting the Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program at UNC-Chapel Hill just three days after she graduates.

“I am passionate about people and about following my convictions and fighting for what I believe in. I was able to build on these strengths here at Meredith.”