Student Spotlight: Ramarro Lamar
By Lindsey Amen
Ask Ramarro Lamar about the key to his success at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and he’ll tell you about the importance of time management.
Over the past four years, the senior political science major from Chicago has balanced roles as a Naval ROTC midshipman, member of the Nebraska cheer squad and recording artist — all while being a full-time student.
“A lot of people ask me the question, ‘Man, you’re always busy. What don’t you do?’ My response generally is, ‘I don’t waste my time’ — so just having a high situational awareness of what you’re spending your time on, what you’re investing in and noticing what hat you’re changing into,” Lamar said.
At the core of Lamar’s passions is his military service. Having always loved leading and motivating others, he was inspired to join the Marine Corps by the organization's elite atmosphere and service-oriented mission.
“There’s not too many other occupations you can be in where the person to the left and right of you care more about you than they care for themselves,” Lamar said. “The amount of passion that individuals in the Marine Corps, and the military in general, have is so inspiring and so compelling. It’s like, how can one person be such a servant leader, so unselfish and put other people in front of themselves? I wanted to be a part of that.”
Lamar serves as the unit’s battalion executive officer, coming second-in-charge behind Nebraska's NROTC commanding officer. His weeks are packed with 5 a.m. physical training sessions three times a week, as well as drills and community service.
On top of an already-busy schedule, Lamar joined Nebraska’s spirit squad this fall as one of the university’s first male cheerleaders in more than a decade. It’s a role that he approaches with an equal amount of discipline and commitment.
“Being able to reincorporate stunting back into game day is something that we want to really have an impact on, so a lot of hours go into it, whether it's lifting, training or going over our repetitions constantly,” Lamar said.
Helping bring back an old Husker tradition has been a memorable way to round out his last year at Nebraska.
“When I walk out into Memorial Stadium, it’s breathtaking. The intensity of sound that exists when you’re on the playing field is absolutely unbelievable,” Lamar said. “The fans are just unlike any other.
“I’ve seen nothing like Memorial Stadium."
In his free time, Lamar is a recording artist and musician. His song "Tight Rope" is being played on local radio in Lincoln, a success that he described as a welcome shock.
"It's been doing pretty well, so it's been an amazing experience. It's kind of one of those things where you do something, and you don't know where it's going to go, and then it just surprises you all of a sudden," he said.
Lamar writes his own songs, taught himself to play guitar and has never taken a music lesson.
“Pretty much all my aunts sing, so I kind of grew up as a little toddler singing with them. And growing up in Chicago, my mother didn’t let me go outside and play too much. We lived in kind of a rougher area,” Lamar said. “I ended up teaching myself guitar and built off of that. Now, I pretty much play a hip-hop, R&B-pop style of music.”
After graduating next spring, Lamar will move to Quantico, Virginia, to attend basic school for the Marine Corps. His next bucket-list item is to join the JAG Corps as a military lawyer.
No matter where he ends up, his time as a Husker has left its mark.
“It’s definitely bittersweet. I’m looking forward to moving on with my career in the Marine Corps, but at the same time, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has just grown on me so much,” Lamar said.
“The relationships I’ve been able to establish, the memories I’ve created here, the networking opportunities that exist and the phenomenal education I’ve been able to get — it’s something that’s going to be hard to say goodbye to. But I’m confident that my future is going to have things that are bigger and better.”
Alumni Spotlight: Lee-Ann Sims
By Laura Damuth
Lee-Ann Sims, a December 2018 graduate of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected as a 2020 scholar for the Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship program.
The Lincoln native and former global studies major is the second-ever Husker student to earn a Rangel fellowship, which seeks to mentor and support outstanding students to bring a more diverse perspective into the crafting and enacting of U.S. foreign policy.
Started in 2002 to honor Congressman Charles Rangel, managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, the fellowship provides substantial support to its recipients. In addition to financial support for a two-year master’s program in a field of study relevant to their chosen career in the State Department, fellows receive internship opportunities, including a summer in Washington, D.C., and an overseas internship at a U.S embassy or consulate; mentoring by a Foreign Service Officer; and entry into the Foreign Service contingent upon successful completion of the program. The award is valued at $95,000 over a two-year period.
Sims said she applied for the award because she is interested in bringing together her interests in language, culture, global security and foreign policy.
“As the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant mother and a black-American father, I know firsthand what it means to live at the edge of cultures, to recognize and respect sociological differences, and to shoulder the responsibility that comes with the privilege of possessing a number of unique socio-cultural identities,” she said. “Negotiating borders and boundaries, both visible and invisible, is for me second nature. It is also why diplomacy features prominently in my future career plans.”
Sims plans to become a Foreign Service Officer in Central Asia or Eastern Europe. She said the thing she’s most looking forward to about the program is meeting and collaborating with people who share her interest in other cultures and a commitment to service.
This fall, Sims was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach English in Kazakhstan for a full year. She is also serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member in Washington, D.C., where she works at an under-resourced school to provide academic support and community service to students and staff.
Sims will defer her Rangel award to be able to participate in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Upon her return, she will attend graduate school and begin the two-year process to complete the Rangel award and start her career in the Foreign Service.
Sims credits Nebraska’s Emira Ibrahimpasic, assistant professor of practice and assistant director of global studies, and Laura Damuth, director of national and international fellowships, for helping her apply for the Rangel and Fulbright awards.
“They saw potential in me and supported my dreams and goals,” she said. “I really would not be where I am today without them. They don't get enough credit for what they do.”