Resourcefulness, resilience drive spring 2024 graduate to degree in public health

“Resourceful” is a word that many might use to describe spring 2024 graduate Donya Glenn. 

The Athens, Georgia, native who crossed the commencement stage in May after just three years to earn his bachelor’s in public health credits the various resources on campus for helping him excel as a student, even when he hit roadblocks along the way. 

“I feel like if resources are available to you, you should always try to grab them while you can,” Glenn said. 

This mindset helped Glenn not only graduate with no student loan debt, having paid for the majority of his education with scholarships, but also helped him find campus services like the University’s Academic Success Center

“Tutoring has been a very big help, especially the one semester I had to take elementary statistics — that was not my favorite,” he said with a laugh. “Tutoring was probably one of the best resources on campus for me besides therapy.” 

Glenn credits the University’s Counseling Center with helping him pivot during a low point in his college career.

“I got to a point during my second semester that things were crumbling down,” Glenn said. “I had stopped working because I knew school came first and I needed to figure out what I need to do to make sure my grades are right and make sure I’m good mentally and physically.”

Glenn knew he wanted to speak to someone other than parents, siblings or professors, but he also knew private counseling services could be expensive. That’s when he discovered the University’s Counseling Center offers therapy to students at no cost.

“I began going to therapy on campus in 2022, and I still go to my therapist. It has been a very, very great help,” he said. “I always tell my friends as well that it’s a free resource that we have on campus.”

Glenn also discovered the power of networking when he was feeling discouraged and uninterested in his classes with his initial major of choice. 

“When I first shifted over to the public health major, I didn’t know where to start,” Glenn said. “So I reached out to professors and public health officials on campus and asked what they do, what their college experiences were like and how they found their passion. Connecting with these people on campus gave me a track on what I should do moving forward.” 

Student organizations also provided Glenn with a networking opportunity to meet like-minded students. 

“I joined the Wellness Ambassadors to meet more public health majors and gain insights on the betterment of student wellness on campus,” Glenn said. “Being in that organization, I found that public health is not just helping people, but also making sure that everybody around you is healthy.” 

That spoke to Glenn, who had always wanted to help people. Glenn was active in the Boys & Girls Club of Athens since the second grade, later becoming an employee and mentor for the youth.

“From being an actual club kid to being a worker there, I learned how you can shape a kid’s life,” he said. “It’s just phenomenal.”

Glenn hopes to one day blend his public health degree and his experience working with children. 

“I want to find somewhere where I can tie in public health and the Boys & Girls Club,” he said. “I don’t know how it is going to work, but I feel like anything is possible.” 

He is taking a step in that direction this summer through his internship with Partnership For Inclusive Innovation (PIN). 

“The focus point of my internship will be creating digital equity opportunities for youth in a rural Georgia community at the Willow Hill Heritage & Renaissance Center in Portal, Georgia,” he said. “I will be assisting students and staff in bridging the gap of technology while learning computer coding, robotics and app development.” 

Glenn is excited to use his knowledge of public health in a new way during his internship. 

“I was interested in interning with PIN because I believed it would be a great way for me to assist in promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of technology,” he said. “With having the education background of public health, I believe I could use my knowledge of economic growth and combine it with the opportunity to learn more about the organization’s efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive innovation ecosystem.” 

In the fall, Glenn will return to the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies, where he plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health. 

“I had people ask me, ‘Did you want to go somewhere else for grad school,’ but I feel comfortable here, like there is still more purpose for me at Georgia Southern,” Glenn said. “It feels like home.” 

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