Danisha Headshot
by Christy Dasher

“You’re going to do amazing. This is your moment. You’ve got this. Don’t second guess yourself.”

Danisha Walker stood in front of her classroom of fifth graders at Dacula Elementary School the day before their Georgia Milestones assessment. They had asked her for a pep talk.

Meet Danisha. Danisha is a senior in the Mary Frances Early College of Education and the winner of the 2021 Teresa Harris Guthrie Award. A DAR student employee for 3.5 years, she was nominated by her supervisor in the award’s inaugural year. And she won. Her compelling nomination speaks to an outstanding work ethic, reliability, and a no-task-too-small mindset. She’s also regarded as a cheerleader in the office.

A member of the first cohort of Georgia Commitment Scholars, Danisha originally learned about the opportunity to work with the DAR Corporate and Foundation Relations team via email and over coffee with Brittany Rider. Having worked as an intern at the Chamber of Commerce in her hometown of Eastman, GA, Danisha knew she would work while pursuing an education at the University but had no idea she would land in an office responsible for bringing the Georgia Commitment Scholarship program to fruition.

When asked about her experience as a DAR student employee, Danisha offered the following reflections.

  1. What was it like interviewing for the student employee job? I was a freshman in a group interview around a large conference table in the Bank of America building.
  2. How have you balanced academics, student teaching, extra-curriculars, and work? I’m flexible, go with the flow and keep everything organized on my calendar.
  3. Did the student employee opportunity match your expectations? Absolutely not; it has far exceeded them. Of course, I’ve done the basic office tasks, but I’ve also gotten to do research and participate in Corporate and Foundation Relation events. I love being able to interact with other students and donors.
  4. What has been most surprising about your work? Receiving notes of appreciation from donors—and my LinkedIn connections have increased tenfold!
  5. What would you tell other students considering a student employee position with DAR? Go for it! You can’t get these connections anywhere else—it is such a unique experience.

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Given annually, the Teresa Harris Guthrie Award recognizes an outstanding student employee who has made a positive impact on the Division of Development & Alumni Relations at UGA through the demonstration of one or more DAR SIC’Em values: Servant Leadership, Innovation, and Commitment. The winner receives a framed certificate and a $500 cash prize funded by the Teresa Harris Guthrie Memorial Fund.

The award was established in memory of former DAR employee Teresa Harris Guthrie. Her smile, outgoing personality, and endless positive attitude made Teresa a joy and a comfort to be near. Her co-workers, family, and friends raised money to create this award in memory of her dedication and mentorship to the students who worked with her.