Extraordinary Everyday Women
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Five years from now I see myself as a manager or chief working for the U.S. federal government, hosting fabulous dinner parties on the weekends for coworkers and friends, traveling throughout the Americas, and building a life with a man who holds the same values as me.
How do you culturally identify yourself?
Culturally I identify as Black of the Americas. Culturally, I identify with the cultures of Blacks in the United States, Cape Verde, Trinidad, and the Gulf Region of Mexico. My familial background is one of varied ethnic backgrounds that are all rooted in the African diasporic or Black experience. My culture is also influenced to a large degree by my faith/religiosity. The Anglican/Episcopal church and West African spirituality both have a great influence on my personal identity as well.
What is your career or profession?
I recently earned my doctorate in political science. As a researcher, I am an American behaviorist, studying the political ideology and philosophical leanings of Spanish and English speaking Blacks throughout the Americas. I have taught in the university setting for more than three years and I am now in transition.
Did you go to university or college? If so, what was your major or concentration?
Over the course of my 11 years in higher education I attended a total of four (4) universities. I attended Fisk University (Nashville, TN) for my bachelor’s degree, Tulane University (New Orleans, LA) for my first master’s degree, the University of New Orleans for my second master’s degree and PhD, and Estudio Sampere (Salamanca, Spain) for my certificate. I majored in political science and Spanish literature at Fisk, Latin American Studies with an emphasis on race and identity politics at Tulane University, political science at the University of New Orleans, and Spanish grammar at Estudio Sampere.
Do you have other positions that you hold (profession or volunteer)?
I serve as sole proprietor of Ebullient Enterprises DBA as According to Lauryn. I offer table and social etiquette courses as well as private chef services. I am active in my city’s alumnae chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I am activity involved on our health committee, political action committee, and debutante ball committee.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
In my spare time I enjoy writing articles to appear in newspapers and grace notes, cooking for family and friends, visiting the elderly/aged in senior living communities, and learning to sew, knit, and now weave on a loom. I enjoy international travel, dinning at great restaurants, and recreating amazing culinary experiences at home.
What’s your most cherished family tradition? Why is it important?
My most cherished familial tradition includes the celebration of religious holidays at church followed by formal family dinners. My favorite secular holiday is Thanksgiving and favorite religious holiday the Lenten Season and Easter Sunday. The Lenten Season and Easter are of greatest importance because they allow for reflection of God’s grace and draw us closer to God. I also enjoy preparing the holiday meals utilizing familial recipes and reinterpretations of familial recipes. The meal and church services are important to passing on our familial traditions of food and faith.
How has your culture influenced who you are?
The women in my family have passed on their cultural tradition of faith and food. I have been told that the methods that I use to prepare meals and share hospitality with others as well as the way that my faith is manifested is reflective of my great great grandmothers. I believe that I am a manifestation of my great great grandparents and other ancestors. Through every act of cooking/hospitality, every intercessory prayer, and every letter written I am sharing my culture with others. As cliche as it sounds, I am stronger, wiser, and more secure as a woman as a result of these women and what they have passed on to me.
What do you see as your place or purpose in life?
I am still unsure of my purpose in life, but I know that as long as I live that my goal should be to make someone else’s life better, to make those who are alone feel loved, and to make those who others have forgotten feel special. I can accomplish this through my gift of hospitality/cooking. I know that through every meal cooked and shared in my home that I am sharing God and God’s love with others. So, I guess, my purpose is to share God through my God given gift of cooking and hospitality.
Photographer: Trish Walker