For Amber “A.M.” Bailey, these words spoken by Robert Kennedy are more than an often-quoted phrase – they effectively verbalize her view on life. Born into a rather affluent and influential family, Kennedy had the comfort of knowing that whatever goals he decided to pursue the resources to achieve these dreams would always be available; A.M. did not. But what unites A.M. and Kennedy, a man she considers to be the most inspirational figure in American politics, is not their contrasting backgrounds but their passionate commitment to turn what others view as impossible into something real.
As a student, A.M. has excelled beyond expectations. While she has always sought to challenge herself with a rigorous yet interesting course load, she has always made it clear that her chief priority is to perform to the best of her ability – no matter the subject matter; achieving the rank of salutatorian of her graduating class has only been validation of her work ethic and the seriousness with which she approaches her studies.
While in high school, A.M. developed a serious interest in government and the political process. As a volunteer for the Virginia Department of Social Services, she became acutely aware of many of the problems facing urban areas. In the summer between her junior and senior years, A.M. participated in Virginia Girls State, an event that turned out to be a life-changing experience. At Virginia Girls State, she learned the importance of not only the democratic process but also the unique perspectives and opinions of individuals. Because of the experience, she became much more appreciative of the impact that a group of people with varying beliefs and ideas can have on the outside world.
Besides the numerous honors and accolades that she has been awarded, A.M.’s greatest reward is the knowledge that her hard work has helped her achieve things that others previously thought unimaginable. If someone were to examine her life from the outside, they may ask how her success thus far has been possible; A.M., however, had the vision as a child – and the support of her family – to know that her upbringing could only make her a stronger person and more appreciative of the success for which she is destined.
A.M. graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Political science in 2013.