Family Values: Education, Service... EKU

Published on October 24, 2022

By Elise Russell

With education and service ingrained in their family values, father Choubert Rémy, ’89, and daughter Tarah Rémy, ’15, live their lives with purpose and passion. Originally from Haiti, the Rémy’s created a family legacy at Eastern. Choubert, a missionary, and Tarah, an intellectual property attorney, make meaningful contributions through their careers, carrying forward the Colonel spirit each and every day.

Growing up in Haiti seeded Choubert’s relentless pursuit of knowledge and education. As a child, he began to notice discrepancies between what he was taught and what he had discovered through reading. This realization led him to keep researching, learning, analyzing and validating, eventually landing him in the United States for a college education.

At EKU, he attained a degree in psychology teaching and a minor in Spanish and enjoyed opportunities to get involved in campus life through groups like the Student Government Association, Christian Student Fellowship and Spanish Club. In 1989, Choubert earned EKU’s recognition of Black male senior with the highest grade point average. 

Following graduation, he returned to Haiti for a few years before coming back to the U.S., where he cofounded the Haiti Christian Mission of Kentucky. With an appreciation for the vast impact of education in his life, he found his calling in sharing the opportunity of education with others in his home country.

“All these years, Haiti has been in such misery, and the people are in a state of hopelessness,” he said. “As more people are educated and think for themselves, it might bring a change for the country. Because the education level is so low, every kid educated is a step forward.”

Choubert brought part of his family to the U.S. in 2005, as conditions in Haiti grew worse with civil unrest, political instability, natural disasters and rising rates of crime and poverty. At the time, Tarah was 12 years old.

Thinking back to her early childhood in Haiti, Tarah remembers a sense of closeness and family culture. In the U.S., she moved to many different places and was often apart from her family, but the values she developed in Haiti stayed with her. As an adult, the familial ties and her relationship with her father only grew stronger. One of the reasons she chose EKU, she said, was because her dad went to Eastern.

“It’s always prideful to see your children follow in your footsteps,” Choubert said. “I was very proud to see Tarah go to EKU and how well she performed.”

Tarah’s other reason for choosing EKU — an interest in music — began from a very young age. “It’s something I’ve always done,” she said about playing the violin. “My dad will tell you I started when I was five years old,” Tarah added with a slight chuckle. 

Auditioning and performing for the EKU Symphony and String Orchestra opened many doors for Tarah. “It was a responsibility I was given, and the conductor trusted me.” She continued, “It really fueled my desire to become a leader in all aspects of my life.”

While pursuing a music industry major, a class at EKU ignited her passion for law. “My professor brought in a music expert who works in a lot of copyright infringement cases, and from that point on, I was completely sucked in,” she said.

Although the journey to becoming a lawyer was challenging at times, she knew she could lean on her dad for encouragement and advice. Choubert leads his family by example, demonstrating his values for education, service and community. After graduating from EKU, he earned a master’s degree from Lincoln Christian University and is nearing completion of a doctorate from Abilene Christian University.

As a law student at Northern Kentucky University, Tarah became president of the Student Bar Association. “I’m generally a really quiet person,” she admitted. “So the fact that my peers saw me as a leader and trusted me with that position was very humbling.” 

Tarah began her legal career as a trademark and copyright attorney at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP — a law firm in Cincinnati — providing advice to clients about their branding portfolio. “A company’s brand is how people know who they are, what they are associated with and how they make money,” Tarah said. “It’s fulfilling to know that you’re helping someone push their dream and brainchild forward.”

At Dinsmore, Tarah had the opportunity to work on international trademark portfolios, lead a trademark enforcement project for major clients, collaborate with colleagues on artificial intelligence in the law and further develop her leadership skills. She recently started a new position as in-house counsel at Deloitte, a business consulting firm.

With service rooted in the Rémy family tree, Tarah gives back through pro-bono work, grant writing and website design for the Haiti Christian Mission, participating in church volunteer projects and engaging in service opportunities through work, such as tutoring students in math. In 2020, Tarah joined the board of directors for the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, a connection first stemming from a program-required internship through EKU. 

Despite the dangers in his home country of Haiti, Choubert still goes back often to carry out his mission work through social development and educational programs. Since its founding, he’s successfully established churches in underserved areas of Haiti and started an elementary school, Russell Christian School, named after the Eastern Kentucky town. Additionally, he’s worked to provide health clinics and food distribution programs, as well as relief support from the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010.    

Reflecting on his family’s EKU legacy, Choubert feels grateful for the university helping his daughter and him gain education and ultimately benefit society through their work. As for his strong relationship with Tarah, he said with pride, “When a parent has a child who still considers them valuable, I think it gives them hope that the kid will succeed and not stray from the family and education. It makes me feel very happy, warm and hopeful. I am sure she will continue to move forward to excel.”

Check out all of the amazing stories in our Fall 2022 Alumni Magazine: