On the Go Leslie Laing: Mother, Mentor and More

Video posted December 11, 2012 in News by Amanda Valdes


Leslie Laing, the third child of William and Elaine Laing was born in the United States after her parents immigrated from Jamaica, West Indies. She is the first American citizen in her family. After their transition into the country, Leslie was born in New York. Her mother, who worked at the United Nations, instilled Leslie with the values of hard work and dedication.

Leslie was raised in New York where she attended public schools; living in places like Queens and the Bronx. She began her journey of multi-tasking and juggling many roles in high school. She participated in the senior choice, was a representative for the Commissioner of Education’s student panel in Albany and was even her Senior Class President.

Upon graduation she wanted to make her transition into college at Boston University, where she wanted to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, the combination of being in another state away from home and the financial strains of college soon got in the way of her goals. Leslie returned home where she worked in retail for some time.

Her efforts to obtain her education soon resumed when she attended Hunter College. Working full time and attending school once again thwarted her goals. She relocated to New Jersey after she met and married her husband. She continued her commute into New York City pursuing a career in banking. Her position as a Merger Integration Coach made her realize that she has a true passion for learning and teaching.

After a decade of work in the banking system, her failure to have in education inhibited her ability to obtain a permanent position within the company.  She then decided to attend Montclair State University, where she obtained her degree.

Leslie also provides advocacy and mentorship for Veteran students. This years Veteran’s Day Celebration gave Leslie the chance to thank the troops who are currently serving our country and showcase some Veteran students on the Penn State campus. Local veterans were invited to the event where a detailed history of Penn State's Armed Forces was told. Leslie also collects toiletries and goods for troops overseas.

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Life happened.  Leslie’s journey was not an easy one. She serves as a model for adult learners who pursue their education later on in life. She also has a nine-year-old daughter, who follows her around and learns from her many multi-tasking roles.  After being an adult learner herself, Leslie provides advocacy and mentorship at Penn State for adult learners. She is involved in both community and university programs. She is an example of how hard work and dedication will help you obtain your goals not matter what may happen along your life journey. 

~by Amanda Valdes