Perryman hasn’t declared his major yet, but said that his academic interest centers around global sustainability and public policy. He first heard of Frederick Douglass as a high school student, when his history teacher, a UVA alum, handed him an autobiography and urged him to consider the University.
“At that time, I started to reckon what it meant to be an advocate for a multi-racial democracy, like Douglass,” Perryman said.
The Frederick Douglass Global Fellows award is co-sponsored by the Council on International Educational Exchange and Ireland’s government, and honors the 1845 meeting between 27-year-old abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell.
In his short time at UVA, Perryman – who grew up in Cleveland – is already honing his interests. After taking a University Seminar, “Designing a Carbon Neutral Future,” Perryman has “become involved in working with eco-entrepreneurs in Ghana virtually and pitching my own climate tech business idea through the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup.”
His interest in social justice comes from his grandfather. A pastor born in Jim Crow-era Alabama, Perryman’s grandfather later was active in civil rights work throughout Cleveland. “Now 95 years old, he still emphasizes to me to always fight for love. It’s his lifelong commitment to reconciliation and justice that fuels me,” Perryman said.