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Littisha Bates, PhD sociology

May 10, 2009

Obama inspired her to go to college

Littisha Bates grew up on the south side of the Chicago, her parents blue collar workers who worked hard to provide for their family. “I grew up in a neighborhood where there was no mention of education or attending college,” she says. “In the high school I attended, both teachers and staff were overworked and underpaid. I don’t ever remember getting any advice from school staff about applying for college or how to pay for it.”  

At her high school commencement, however, she heard an unknown up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama talk about the value of higher education.

Bates knew she wanted to go to college, so she grabbed a stack of applications and filled them out on her own. She completed 10 applications but was only able to submit four due to steep application fees.

Receiving support and encouragement from the McNair Scholars program during her undergraduate years, she decided to pursue graduate studies and entered the MA/Ph.D. program at ASU. “Throughout my graduate student career I have received great support both academically and financially at ASU. This year I have been privileged to receive a dissertation fellowship from the Graduate College.

“I feel a sense of pride knowing that I have accomplished something no one in my family has ever done. I have made my mother and father so proud, and that is reward enough. It seems like just yesterday I heard that young politician at my high school commencement.  I will have the pleasure of hearing that same man now as President of the United States as I receive my Ph.D.”

Recently Bates accepted a position as an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati.