by Jaclyn Youhana Garver
Spend an hour chatting with Sajahane Lloyd, and you’ll be convinced, too, that this girl might change the world.
This is her senior year at Wayne High School, and Lloyd is a member of both Wayne’s Sources of Strength, a peer-led mental health group, and the leadership group Pave the Path. She loves the ceramics class she attends on days when she’s actually on-campus, though she signed up for the class primarily because she needed a fine arts credit to graduate in May with her honors diploma. She’s been a cheerleader since the fourth grade, and then, of course, there’s that PSAT score.
The second time she took the test, she got a 1240, putting her in the top 10% of all test takers, according to Kaplan, the company that preps students for the SATs. Her score was so high, Lloyd received recognition from the College Board, which administers the PSATs and offers recognition to students in minority groups or who attend school in a rural area or small town.
The recognition connects Lloyd to universities and scholarships across the country—but there’s just one university she has her eye on: Ball State, where she hopes to major in biology with a concentration in wildlife biology and conservation.
“My current aspiration is to find fieldwork after college or during college in the conservation field and go on to teach conservation,” she says. She wants “to try and keep the flames ignited in the younger generation about keeping endangered species protected.”
She worked out the particulars of this dream after shadowing a veterinarian her sophomore year: She realized she couldn’t imagine having to perform surgery on an animal or put one down.
So she got a summer job at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo as an interpreter. In the role, she told guests about the animals and highlighted conservation efforts.
“I really, really enjoyed it, especially when it was smaller audiences and younger children because they had the best questions,” Lloyd says. “I started researching how I could turn that into something for my future.”
Her trial and error approach to answering the question What do I want to be when I grow up? was so, well, methodical.
“That’s kind of how I work,” she says.
Then, of course, there’s family life. Lloyd is the oldest of seven kids, which led to her pandemic silver lining, the bright spot in the gloom of attending senior year of high school during the coronavirus pandemic.
“When we all got sent home (from school), that was really bleak,” she says, but “I had so much more time with my family. Since we’re all busy with our own things, there’s never a lot of time for all of us to sit down at once and be together. I had so much more time to build relationships with my brothers and sisters. It was definitely a really positive thing to come out being stuck at home.”