Tiffany Harvey found inspiration from her mother and wants to help children discover their purpose.
By Matt Nixon
When senior psychology major Tiffany Harvey began her freshman year at Georgia State, she found herself balancing more than a demanding course load. She’d made two groups of friends — one more studious and the other more social — and tried to make both a priority. But when she returned for her sophomore year to find that several of her less conscientious friends had lost their HOPE scholarships and dropped out, reality kicked in.
Harvey had quickly been reminded that she couldn’t let anything derail her long-held career plan, which hinged on a college education. Growing up, she’d seen her mother, Phebe, a human resource professional, hit a career ceiling and get passed over for jobs because she lacked an undergraduate degree.
Now, she keeps a close network of friends who share her commitment to academics. They inspire her, and she inspires them.
After graduating in spring 2019, Tiffany plans to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in school counseling. Harvey knows as well as anyone the difference one person can make in another’s life. She’ll channel that knowledge into her future career, which she hopes will be in counseling for middle-school-aged youth.
“Middle school is the time when kids pick their path. It’s a time in their lives when I can make a real impact,” said Tiffany. “I moved five times during middle school. Being able to talk things through with my middle school counselor was a big help.”
For the last two years, Tiffany’s been getting practical experience working with middle schoolers through her internship with Cool Girls Inc., a local nonprofit that works to empower girls through breaking the cycle of poverty and teen pregnancy.
While Tiffany is dedicated to being a positive influence in the lives of young people, her career path was as much a matter of practicality as passion.
“I consider myself an artist first. I’m trying to get a book of poetry published and am working on a movie script and trailer,” said Tiffany. “But my mother’s experience taught me how important a college degree is for financial security.”
While Phebe inspired her daughter’s academic path, Tiffany’s academic dedication inspired Phebe. In fall 2015, mother and daughter both enrolled as first-semester freshmen at Georgia State. Phebe is on schedule to graduate in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in social work.
“Everyone has a different story and a different path they’ve been down, and you can learn from all of them,” said Tiffany. “I want to use my experiences to help others find their path.”
Photos by Carolyn Richardson