For Azarius Williams ’20, attending Syracuse University has been a dream come true. He explains, “I like to say that Syracuse University chose me. In high school, I honestly did not envision myself pursuing higher education because of my family’s financial limitations.”
Williams continues, “The Posse Foundation introduced me to Syracuse University. During my initial interview process, it was explained to me that the Miami Posse office partners with six different institutions, one being Syracuse. I immediately became interested to learn more. For the second-round interview, I had to list my top three schools out of the six partner schools, and without a doubt, I listed Syracuse University as my top choice.”
Since being at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Williams has been involved as a Posse Miami Scholar, Our Time Has Come Scholar, McNair Scholar, Global Ambassador, a member of the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council and a volunteer at the Center for Community Alternatives in the greater Syracuse community.
This year,Williams was selected to be a Remembrance Scholar, representing Scott Cory, one of the Syracuse University students lost in the terrorist attack on flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. During “Remembrance Week,” which takes place Oct. 20-26, 2019, he will be honored.
Williams says that Whitman and Syracuse as a whole have been beneficial to his ability to gain knowledge, both inside and outside of the classroom. “I have certainly been offered an incredible amount of perspective on not only what opportunities are available to pursue, but also in what ways I would like to contribute to society,” Williams explains.
During first year, as well as sophomore year, Williams worked as a student supervisor in Kimmel, where he assisted customers, organized student work schedules and trained new student workers. Williams says, “This work experience, though it was a work-study, gave me leadership skills that are important for managing a team.”
After his sophomore year, Williams obtained a summer internshipas a general accounting intern for the City of Chicago’s Department of Finance in which he collaborated with senior accountants to tie supporting documents with appropriate budget funds and reviewed over 3,000 client checks and cash receipts. “This position allowed me to experience finance in the public sector,” says Williams, “which taught me a lot about how cities, in particular, execute and account for financial decisions.”
Williams worked at Fidelity Investments as an investor center intern this past summer, identifying lead opportunities for financial consultants, supporting high net-worth clients with the complex service needs of their investment accounts and had the opportunity to spearhead the branch’s digital adoption initiative.
While Williams has had many opportunities for experiential learning in finance, he hopes to make an impact on human rights issues. “One of my main career goals is to work in international human rights advocacy, particularly atrocity/genocide prevention. As of now, my plan upon graduation is to take a year off to travel and then apply to graduate programs with a human rights focus,” shares Williams.
In working towards this goal, Williams is beginning at Syracuse. “A fellow Whitman peer, Brian Sotnick, and I are jump-starting a student-led initiative here at Whitman to promote discussions around fostering a more inclusive, diverse Whitman community,” he explains. “We are hoping to provide a platform for Whitman students to express their concerns and work towards creating a better Whitman student experience.”