Major: Human Development and Family Science

Hometown: Valdosta, Ga.

Activities: Phi Upsilon Omicron treasurer

What attracted you to the department of human development and family science?

“Originally, I intended to pursue a degree in dietetics, but as I continued my course requirements through FACS, I found myself drawn to the HDFS courses. This program has empowered me by helping me understand and work through my own history. It has inspired me to work with research that centers on how poverty and neglect can affect childhood development. As someone from a low-income background, I really want to work in a field that will help children of poverty succeed despite their lack of financial resources.”

What research are you involved with at FACS?

“I’ve had the honor of interning under Dr. Assaf Oshri in the Youth Development Lab  as a research assistant. Dr. Oshri has studied child neglect, and interning under him has allowed me to experience what a career in research looks like.”

You transferred to UGA from Valdosta State. What led you to Athens?

“I am a first generation, non-traditional college student. My younger sister and I are the first in our immediate family to have pursued a college degree. I was (initially) incredibly intimidated by the University of Georgia. I thought I would fall through the cracks and I did not feel as if I belonged at such a prestigious institution. However, because of amazing professors like Dr. Oshri and Dr. (Jerry) Gale, I have been able to discover my value as a student.”

What advice do you have for other UGA students in similar situations as you?

“My desire is for students who have struggled because they do not have a lot of money to know that they are capable of achieving a college degree. If you are at the University of Georgia, you are capable of graduating from this university, and you have every right to be here. Work hard. Study hard. Make connections with people and get involved. You are worthy of a great education.”

Tags: whitney watkins, transfer, poverty, phi u, neglect, jerry gale, hdfs, assaf oshri