Bachelor of Arts, English ‘18
“I've always escaped into books,” says Lonnie Lucas (Bachelor of Arts, English ‘18). “I’m the youngest of six, so I would sneak off and read a book to get quiet.” An omnivorous reader, she enjoys everything from Shakespeare plays and Swiftian satires to science fiction and paranormal romance. As she completed her Bachelor of Arts in English, she went to London for a Penn Summer Abroad program that included a five-day trip to Paris and visits to more than a dozen theatrical productions. “I got to go to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and see The Taming of the Shrew,” she recalls. “It was amazing.”
After eight years of military service, Lonnie became the first member in her family to attend college. She enrolled in an associate’s degree program, taking remedial math and English courses in the beginning. But before long, Lonnie became the vice president of the student body, got on the dean’s list, graduated with honors and realized that she might have other academic options. “I didn’t know what an Ivy League was,” she laughs; nonetheless with encouragement from an academic mentor, she began applying to bachelor’s degree programs and was accepted into Brown, Columbia and UCLA before selecting Penn. After transferring in some of her college credits, Lonnie was able to complete earn her Bachelor of Arts from Penn in two years—even while working at the Internal Revenue Service and studying for the LSAT.
Lonnie has a talent for solving problems when her friends are in need: in community college, she coordinated clothing donations and arranged for sack lunches during finals week. Now, Lonnie is attending law school in St. Louis and looking forward to discovering an area of legal practice that will equip her to challenge injustice: “The reason I wanted to become a lawyer was to help people,” she explains.