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Asia Yates on Reaching Your Goals

Nicole Patterson

Asia Yates feature

“My parents instilled in me the need to be an example to my younger siblings and to those around me. I carried that with me to college, and I’m looking beyond just my four years here,” said Asia Yates, C’23, criminal justice major, ROTC cadet and NCAA Division I student athlete. “Everything I do has meaning and purpose because I think about the end goal.” She’s looking toward the future and walking in faith.

asia_running-1-in-text.jpgHer goal, after graduation, is to serve six years in the U.S. Army with military intelligence or public relations. After that, she wants to work in the CIA and become the first African American woman to work the presidential Secret Service. The ROTC cadet is also a sprinter on the track & field team—so she knows how to put her energy in the right direction. After overcoming a torn ACL and replacement surgery, the Division I student-athlete says her dad’s advice “not to hold myself back" has found significant application in other areas of her life.

The self-published author and illustrator of six books, five written for African American children in English and Spanish and the sixth a 30-day inspirational reflection for teenage girls and young women, Yates publishes under her brand Just Me, which stands for Melanated Excellence.

“I came up with the brand name because there are so many young African American women who need to know they can do what they want to do and they can become anything they want to be; they can succeed in any way they choose,” she explained. Her children’s books teach confidence and positive affirmations that the reader is beautiful, smart and important. Revealing a little more long-term planning, Yates says she would love for Just Me to become more than books. She imagines it expanding into a huge conference for girls, teenagers and women to grow together, share experience and learn more about themselves and others.

As a child, Yates says she was curious, outgoing and creative—easily making friends and connections with adults and those in leadership positions who were three times her age. Growing up in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, she was a high achiever, and a good example to her younger twin siblings Paris and China. “My maturity came from my parents; they definitely raised us to be go-getters and to work hard.” Yates admits she had a lot of options for college, but she knew the Mount was right for her. “When I stepped foot on the Mount, I just had this feeling; I felt this was the place where I could be very successful,” she recalls.

Her success hasn’t come without challenges. In fact, her mantra is that you have to be uncomfortable in order to get comfortable. She’s worked to push herself out of her comfort level.

In February, she interviewed Gracelyn McDermott, C’93, who is the second woman and first Black chair of the Mount St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees. In April, she interviewed Tamika Tremaglio, C’92, another member of the asia_vision-board.jpgMount’s board of trustees. She also practices her interviewing skills as a host of the Office of Admissions podcast Admit it. “It stretched me, and I realized interviewing might be a passion I never would have known. My mom calls me a mini Oprah, and I love every second if it,” she joked.

Her mom is also the one who inspired her to complete vision boards each year. “I put down all my goals and when new or different goals emerge, I pin them on my vision board and store them there,” Yates said. Her advice to other students? “There’s no one in this world who can stop you but you. There may be limitations, but you’re the person who is in control of reaching your goal or chasing after that dream you have. Nobody can chase after it but you.” Step by step, she running down her dreams and making them her reality.

Nicole Patterson