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David Stanley: 'I know I love working with people'

June 17, 2019

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From mentoring local high school students to developing a diversity workshop series, David Stanley, a Ph.D. student in counseling psychology, is passionate about helping others and has a clear career path to pass on his knowledge and experience.

Hometown:

Jacksonville, Florida

High school:

Westside High School (formerly known as Nathan B. Forrest High School)

Current employment:

Psychology intern – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, counseling and psychological services

Family ties to UGA:

I'm the first in my family to attend and graduate from UGA.

Expected graduation:

Fall 2020

Degree objective:

Counseling psychology, Ph.D.

Other degrees:

Professional counseling (community), M.Ed.

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I think it was extremely important to take advantage of the many opportunities as they presented themselves. I am grateful for my experience here at UGA. I was most recently awarded the Arthur M. Horne Graduate Research Award from the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services in the College of Education in 2019.

I was a graduate assistant in the Office of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives in the Graduate School for three years (2016-2019). One of my tasks was to develop a workshop series – Transition Workshop Series: Minority Serving Institution to a Predominantly White Institution. This series was designed to assist in the retention of underrepresented students. This was held four times per semester. Topics included: Cultivating a Community of Support, Discerning When to Engage, Managing Imposter Syndrome, Importance of Self-care, Addressing Isolation, Tips & Tools for Research, Effectively Communicating, and Managing Stress. I have been a co-facilitator (with a faculty member) of the Transition Workshop series from its inception (2017-2019).

I am also active within my professional organization, the American Psychological Association. For the past two years (2017-2019), I have served as the campus representative at UGA for Division 17, Society of Counseling Psychology, the Student Affiliates of Seventeen.

From 2016-2019, I have had the wonderful opportunity to participate as a judge for oral and poster presentations at the annual Atlanta University Center (AUC) Research Day held at Robert W. Woodruff Library in Atlanta. It is a great opportunity to evaluate research and provide constructive feedback to students. I presented at this conference in 2010 on my final project to graduate from Morehouse College.

I have been a mentor for the Clarke County Mentor Program for four years (2015-2019). My mentee's name is Kurali Grantham. He will be going on to do great things with his life and whatever career he decides to settle upon. He is much more advanced than I was at his age. In 2017, I was named mentor of the year for Clarke Middle School and in 2018, I was named mentor of the year for Clarke Central High School.

I chose to attend UGA because …

… it was high ranking for both my master's and doctoral programs. Also, with it being in-state that helped tremendously. I also love how close it is to Atlanta. Aside from that, I appreciate watching great sports!

My favorite things to do on campus are …

… eating and walking!! Tate Student Center is like a one stop shop for me. It has a good variety of food and it's in the center of campus. I also like how close Tate is to the Multicultural Services and Programs building. It's extremely convenient. As a graduate assistant, my job requires me to be inside for a good amount of time, but the campus is very beautiful and it is always nice to take a break and take it in.

When I have free time, I like …

… to try new food places in town. I really like Weaver D's, Food for the Soul, Dawg Gone Good BBQ, Agua Linda, Cali N Tito's, I could go on for a while! I also try to spend some time catching up with family and friends from back home, they keep me going!

The craziest thing I've done is …

… manage three jobs while completing my master's program (which included a practicum component) from 2013-2015. I worked at Foot Locker, The Flats at Carrs Hill, and I was a taxi driver for United Taxi.

My favorite place to study is …

… the library and Miller Learning Center. It has to be quiet for me, so I could never get into studying at coffee shops.

My favorite professor is …

This is rather difficult to say. I have had many great professors that I have thoroughly enjoyed. If I must pick one, I would say professor Edward A. Delgado-Romero. Not only is he my chair (whom I decided to work with from the beginning), but he challenges all students to be the best iteration of themselves. He set the tone from the beginning of my program within my cohort of how we should get in the habit of providing constructive feedback to each other after we each presented in class. From the way he facilitates discussions, the nonjudgmental/noncompetitive space he creates among students, to the speed and depth at which he provides feedback. I think he embodies what being a great professor is all about.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …

… President Barack Obama! I am a sponge for wisdom, especially as it relates to one's experiences. What better way to spend your afternoon than soaking up some knowledge from a former president. One of my dream goals is to interview Barack Obama to better understand his reasoning and thought processes around pursuing such a lofty and influential position.

If I knew I could not fail, I would …

… do what I'm doing now. I wouldn't change a thing.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to …

… provide everyone with affordable housing, water, fresh fruits and vegetables, access to high-quality culturally sensitive health care, and an environment in which judgement or fear did not exist.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

I know I love working with people. I am pursuing this doctoral degree in counseling psychology. The opportunity to utilize what I know to help others on a micro- (i.e., therapy) and macro-level (i.e., through research, as a professor, consultant, public speaker, social justice advocate, leader) is only possible because of my ancestors and the rights they fought and died for.

After graduation, I plan to …

… become a professor at a Research I institution, to immerse myself in the training experiences of up-and-coming doctoral students in the field of counseling psychology. Furthermore, I think having Black men on faculty would provide a unique perspective into an often misunderstood worldview, more importantly to help with the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students within counseling psychology. Eventually, I plan to go into private practice providing individual therapy, group therapy, psychological assessments and consulting.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be …

… when my younger brothers came to visit me and were able to experience a couple of welcome week activities in 2017, put on by the Graduate and Professional Scholars (GAPS), a graduate student-led organization on campus.