ATLANTA — Presidential Scholar Laila Thurman believes in the power of community.
“To me community is about people,” she said. “You want to create a community that is worthy of the people in it.”
In ninth grade, Thurman started volunteering at her school’s Giving Closet, a small closet in the back of the school library that provides students with professional and casual clothing as well as food and necessary supplies.
“When you make small things like a closet in the back of the library turn into something that is helping people feel more comfortable and confident when they go to a job interview or giving them something they can eat, there are problem-solving skills that you develop in terms of giving and trying to provide for your community,” Thurman said.
Thurman is majoring in psychology and hopes to work with veterans. Both of Thurman’s parents worked for a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her mother worked as a nurse and her father was a chaplain.
Thurman is hoping to become a psychologist for the VA. She sees the potential to not only support veterans but also to improve the services they receive.
“I think that one of the best things to do is make sure policy is coming from all directions, and policy can definitely come from clinical psychology,” she added.
As a first-year student in the Honors College, she’s enjoyed getting to know her fellow Presidential Scholars through their Honors seminar course taught by Dean Sarah Cook.
“We work together on different projects. It’s nice having people that are so different come together in this common goal of trying to be our best selves,” she said.