Those larger goals are exactly what Smith will focus on at Oxford when he starts his philosophy in comparative social policy master's degree program in the fall. He is one of 43 American students to receive a prestigious Marshall Scholarship for graduate study in the United Kingdom in 2018.

“The U.S. and the U.K. have a lot in common in terms of how society is structured,” Smith said. “I want to study how we can combine knowledge in education and economic and social policy to help close the opportunity gap and provide equal opportunities for all.”

As he graduates and reflects on his undergraduate career, Smith is filled with gratitude.

“I'm very fortunate, and I'm very thankful for all the teachers, mentors and everyone in between including friends and family that have helped me along the way," he said. "I definitely think I wouldn't be here if it weren’t for them.”

So what’s the end goal for Smith? 

I'd like to go to Washington D.C., work on Capitol Hill and work my way up to one day being a policy adviser or a chief of staff to an elected official.”

Lisa Rolland-Keith

Communications Specialist, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions