ATLANTA–Georgia State junior Devonta Williams may be what every college dreams of in a transfer student. He works hard to maintain great grades, is actively involved in campus activities and is career-driven. Most importantly, he credits his experience at Georgia State for helping him find his purpose in life.
Before transferring to Georgia State, Williams struggled to find a major at Ohio University that would fulfill his desire to help others. This uncertainty led to a brief period of frustration and, eventually, a departure from college altogether. But he always wanted to continue his studies and graduate with a degree.
“I was really dedicated to finding a degree program that matches my purpose,” he said.
After careful self-reflection, Williams made the decision to return to college. He began researching universities and comparing academic programs with credit requirements. After relocating to Georgia, a trip to Georgia State helped him determine it was the best college for him. “GSU’s location in downtown gave me this level of comfort that I didn’t have before in the rural Ohio setting. I felt like I finally had a real connection to my campus.”
Williams received his acceptance letter from Georgia State and found himself in a much happier place.
After enrolling, it wasn’t long before he discovered the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies offered several academic programs focused on public service and community improvement.
“I knew right away that the AYS is respected among many,” he said. As a result of taking a few classes he noticed his professors had “tremendous reputations” because of their academic and practical expertise.
The Andrew Young School helped him develop a particular interest in how policy can influence positive change in the lives of people. Williams was particularly intrigued with the belief that philanthropy and nonprofits are critical to improving the complex issues that happen in communities.
He found that a combination of programs—a major in public policy and a minor in nonprofit leadership—would best complement his desire and passion of helping others. “Our classes provide theories, but the AYS also offers students actual professional experiences like partnerships with nonprofit organizations through GSU’s Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.”
Williams, who works as a development coordinator at the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, isn’t waiting until he graduates to make meaningful change. He uses his coursework in nonprofit management and membership in the alliance to implement new and innovative ideas at the YMCA.
“It’s important for me to use public policy to help people around me, those in my own community,” he said.
In the future, Williams hopes to have the opportunity to become a chief operating officer or chief development officer at the YMCA or for a major city like Atlanta, a position he considers to be a dream job. He is well on his way of making this dream a reality; he’s been promoted twice within the last two years at the YMCA.