When a student is taking 22 credits and involved in six organizations, you’d think they’d be hard-pressed for time. Not only has Damali Lambert found a way to manage this intense schedule, but the 19-year-old senior majoring in English is set to graduate this spring.
“I feel every organization I’m a part of is somewhat a part of me,” Lambert said. “I never have to struggle with balancing because I’m doing things that are passionate to me.”
Lambert was born in Brooklyn, and moved to her mother’s home country of Guyana at age seven. At age 14, she skipped eighth grade and started high school. Because she was ahead and high school is only three years in Guyana, Lambert was set to graduate high school as a 16-year-old.
In April of 2014, Lambert went to New York City to buy a prom dress. She never returned to Guyana.
“I was graduating that year,” Lambert said. “I was supposed to start college at basically 16 and I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m not ready for this — can I do senior year in New York?’”
Lambert enrolled at Clara Barton High School later that month, and immediately rose to the top of her class. In addition to taking all of her Regents and gym classes in one year, Lambert was active in school activities, ranging from yearbook committee to managing the basketball team.
With aspirations in law, Lambert began her college career at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
After she realized that the commuter-school atmosphere wasn’t for her, she decided to come to Binghamton University.
“When I visited the campus it was so beautiful, it was so bright,” Lambert said. “I’ll be happy here.”
So far, Lambert has enjoyed her time.
“It’s just so much activism that I’m involved with, so [many] organizations that I’m involved with, and the people that I’ve met — like the strong individuals that I meet here — I feel like I cannot meet anywhere else,” Lambert said.
With her major, Lambert aspires to one day become a lawyer.
“My major allows me to interpret a lot of different textual languages and helps me with not only my vocabulary, but my fluidity in conversations and presentation of arguments, which is very important in the law field,” she said.
Lambert also serves as the co-public relations chair of the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society, a member of the Black Student Union, a member of the American Cancer Society and the events coordinator of the BU chapter of Pretty Girls Sweat.
“As a woman, I want to have strong self-esteem; I want to want to be self-empowered,” Lambert said.
“So that’s the mission of Pretty Girls Sweat — to help women feel beautiful in their bodies. I wanted to graduate not only with the academics, but with the health that I carry on throughout my life.”
Lambert’s involvement in various on-campus organizations led her to join the internal affairs committee of the Student Association (SA).
“Being a part of a SA-chartered organization, I realized there’s a lot that we don’t know, that we should know,” Lambert said. “Being a part of the Student [Congress] is a great way to get involved, to have knowledge and to actually help the organizations that I care about.”
She is also an intern in the Learning Through Leadership program, led by the executive director of the SA, David Hagerbaumer.
Aside from these activities, she is also a guest bartender at The Place on Court and the SA representative for the Off Campus College Council.
“Safety off campus is a very big problem,” she said. “I want to be a part of what improves that safety.”
After completing her undergraduate studies, Lambert plans to spend a year doing pro-bono work in Africa before pursuing her law degree.
“There’s just so much that people don’t know about Africa and so much that I want to help improve in Africa,” Lambert said.
Lambert has no plans to slow down anytime soon, as her professional plans involve developing non-alcoholic lounges for young people under 21, a big brother big sister mentor program in at-risk communities and an organization dedicated to exoneration cases.
When she isn’t busy with her campus commitments, Lambert enjoys singing, modeling and photography.
“Singing is what made me realize I want to have a voice in society; photography is what made me realize that there’s so much beauty that’s hidden in society,” Lambert said. “So I guess the voice and the beauty all come together in my end goals.”