Laurence Tumpag
Jackson, TN

Hello! My name is Laurence Tumpag and I'm One of Tennessee's Best!

I am a first generation college student of Filipino American heritage. My mother immigrated to the United States from the Philippines for a better life. She stressed the importance of education in my own life so I would not have to struggle so hard.

I pursued higher education despite enduring bouts of domestic violence by a male figure in my household and later relocating to a homeless shelter as a means to escape this abuse. In 2008, I attained an A.S. in History with Magna Cum Laude Honors from Jackson State Community College and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Through this organization, I was awarded a scholarship to a small four year private Christian university where I attended from 2008-2009. This began my transition from homelessness to dormitory living and a full meal plan completely paid for by my scholarship and financial aid from the government.

I later transferred to Middle Tennessee State University where I'm currently pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work so that I can serve populations in my community that are suffering from a wide variety of social issues such as abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and disabilities. I am also pursuing a minor in history and sociology because I have a passion for past cultures, and I believe you cannot know where you are going without first knowing from where you came.

I decided to transfer to MTSU because I knew a bigger school could offer me greater opportunities and a chance to get a taste of real diversity. I admire this school for its wide range of students from different races, religions, lifestyles, and even disabilities. MTSU is truly an enriching environment where anyone can find a place they belong. I'm also a disabled student and registered with MTSU Disabled Student Services. I have overcome my disability and continue to excel both scholastically and in extra-curricular pursuits.

There's tons of clubs, organizations, and things to get into at MTSU; you just have to find your niche and go for it! I was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society where I now serve as Student Vice President; Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society where I serve as Volunteer Coordinator; and Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society. As a nontraditional student, I was also awarded the Older Wiser Learners Scholarship. Currently, I actively volunteer and work for the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students where I'm able to advocate for awareness in the causes mentioned above.

I even tried my hand in the media, and it's great that MTSU offers so many opportunities to get your voice heard! This is especially true after having my story published in June Anderson Center's "Voices We Haven't Heard Journal."; I've been highlighted in MTSU Sidelines newspaper for various events and causes that I've coordinated or participated in such as the June Anderson Center's "Evening of Empowerment & Expression"; in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and "Project Awareness"; where I spoke on disability awareness and my own personal testimony of triumph despite my disadvantages. But the greatest achievement in my eyes was getting the opportunity to be featured in MTSU Alumni Record and Murfreesboro Daily News Journal newspaper for my cultural display of the Philippines that is currently being showcased on MTSU's campus throughout the school year! It's an awesome experience and honor to share my culture in the U.S. Middle Tennessee has really given me a platform from which my voice can be heard, for this I am truly grateful!

Prior to coming to MTSU, I was blessed to be a former Ned McWherter Scholar where I interned for Tennessee Senator Roy Herron. This experience really opened my eyes to the world of politics and how I can be an agent for positive change and how I can better my community and living environment. Transferring to MTSU has made my future pursuits even brighter. I'm currently a Ronald E. McNair Program Scholar and serve as Community Service Chair. This spring break, I traveled to Chennai, India as part of the MTSU McNair Ambassadors where I presented social science and historical based research to my contemporaries who attend college half way across the globe! It's always an honor to be part of organizations with namesakes of prominent and important people in our nation. Personally, it inspires me to strive for my best because I know those are some really big shoes to fill.

There are many exciting opportunities waiting for you at MTSU! College is the time you experience true independence while living and working alongside a community of your peers and mentors. Your attitude determines how your experience is; keep a positive and open-minded outlook and opportunities, friendships, and successes will flow your way!

I love Middle Tennessee State University and all that it has afforded me in such a short period of time. Thank you, or as they say in the Filipino language, "Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat!"; I'm proud to say, I'm One! Go Blue Raiders!