Awah Tilong is a lot of things.
She’s educated. She’s Cameroonian. She’s a strong black woman. She’s got a lot to say, and she doesn’t care if that causes you to stare.
When she got to Regis, the junior premed biology and sociology major felt out of place.
“At first I didn’t know how to fit in at Regis,” she said. “I felt very noticeable. I had no way of conversing with people. I felt like a spectacle. But I learned I needed to redirect my energy. I knew I had to make the best of my experience and help others overcome the similar challenges.”
Tilong is the daughter of Cameroonian immigrants and the only daughter among five children. She was mindful of when it was time to cry and time to fight.
She came from a predominately black and Latino school where she was among the majority. At Regis, that changed. After struggling with this change her freshman year, Tilong started to embrace her role not only as a black leader but as a campus leader.
She’s spent the past two years as president of the Black Student Alliance (BSA). She’s worked with the Violence Prevention Program and the Regis University Student Government Association (RUSGA). And now she’s is getting ready to start an internship at Denver Health, where she’ll shadow a primary care physician.
Mainly, Tilong is trying to bring people together. As president of the BSA, she encourages anyone and everyone to attend meetings, and along with the other organizations, she wants individuals to talk and ask questions.
During her internship she hopes to find new ways to bridge the health gaps and quity in marginalized communities.
“My ultimate goal is to affect a generation – at least one,” she said. “I want to affect a generation and inspire someone to do better and more than me.”
Although her initial experience at Regis pushed her out of her comfort zone, Tilong sees more than hope. She sees progress.
“Regis wants to do better,” she said. “People who find Regis now learn about its mission and goals. In 10 years, they won’t have to find out about it, they’ll know about it. I truly believe people will come for its mission and goals.”