Reynolds Student Tamere Briley Named DREAM Scholar

Reynolds Community College student, Tamere Briley, has been named a 2024 DREAM Scholar by Achieving the Dream (ATD), the premier and largest network of community colleges dedicated to advancing social and economic mobility. Ms. Briley, a criminal justice student on track to graduate in spring 2024, is one of just eight scholars nationwide chosen for this honor.

“I remember the exact date – it was December 18 and I was sitting in my car,” Briley said. “An email popped up on my phone. It said congratulations, you have been selected for the 2024 DREAM Scholars Program, and I just about passed out reading that!”

For Tamere, her selection as a DREAM Scholar is a far cry from earlier parts of her journey. She remembers hearing her own family tell her she would never be accepted in the professional world because of her appearance and pieces of her past. She also recalls the self-doubt she felt when she came to Reynolds. “I told myself this is not me – I’m trying to be a college student but college is just not for me,” said Briley. “My first semester I made all C’s and was ready to drop out and throw my books in the trash.” While she could have quit, Tamere instead chose to lean into her passion for criminal justice and fully immerse herself in academia and college life. She quickly turned C’s into A’s, joined the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and was selected as the chapter president.

“I am living proof that you can turn your life around,” Briley shared. “It doesn’t matter what you did in your past – you can do something different.”

The next part of Briley’s inspiring journey carries a nervous excitement, as she will engage with community activists, education leaders, peers, and DREAM Scholar alumni, in addition to addressing the DREAM 2024 conference next month in Orlando. “It’s my first time going to Florida, first time on an airplane, and definitely the first time I’ve ever shared my life story with 2,000 people,” Briley said. “All of this is something very new to me, but I am so honored and happy to have this opportunity.”

Briley, a single mother of three children, plans to graduate from Reynolds in spring 2024 and has already been accepted into the criminal justice program with a concentration in forensic crime scene investigation at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also currently studying for the LSAT exam and plans to apply to the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

“We are so proud that Tamere was one of only eight students from around the nation selected through a rigorous, highly selective process to be a DREAM Scholar,” shared Dr. Paula Pando, Reynolds Community College president. “Tamere’s selection is a testament to her story of resilience, redemption, and triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. She is truly exceptional.”