“I chose St. Thomas Aquinas College because I instantly felt welcomed when I visited the campus. The staff and faculty members made it easy for me to adjust to the college environment, and it is a home away from home.”
From the moment she stepped on campus, Shaniya Warren knew STAC was the right place for her. There are countless reasons Shaniya loves STAC, but to name a few, Shaniya says, her favorite things about STAC are the close-knit community, the Career Development Center, and the clubs on campus. STAC’s clubs allow students to connect and feel united on a small campus. This close-knit community allows students to build relationships with one another and also with the faculty and staff members on campus as well. The Career Development Center is a phenomenal resource for Spartans, allowing students to create resumes, find job opportunities on and off campus, and host trips or events to prepare students for their careers in the future.
Shaniya is working towards completing her Bachelor of Science at St. Thomas Aquinas College, majoring in psychology and minoring in education. Once she graduates, she plans to earn her Master’s Degree in Social Work through NYU. Shaniya says, “As a student who has a minor in education, I am allowed to take courses that will help me pursue a career in school guidance and counseling. My ultimate goal is to become a guidance counselor in a high school and to open a private practice in the future. I believe the courses that I am taking are helping me to achieve the goals that I have set for myself. I am excited to take what I’ve learned in my courses and put it into practice when I successfully land a job in my career field.”
While she has taken many courses at STAC that have positively influenced her, one class that stands out to Shaniya is Dr. Staci Shultz’s First-Year Seminar course. “I met Dr. Shultz while taking her First-Year Seminar (FYS) course as a freshman, and I was blown away by her bubbly personality and her love for polka dots. Dr. Shultz is an incredible instructor, and she is dedicated to seeing her students prosper in their college careers and their careers in the future. For the first semester at STAC, I looked forward to attending FYS because we dived into topics about culture, race, social class, and wealth. These topics and discussions made me realize that I want to rise above the barriers as a woman of color and strive towards creating a better environment for everyone regardless of culture, race, social class, and socioeconomic status,” says Shaniya.
Dr. Shultz, Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing, is passionate about her job because of students like Shaniya Warren. “Shaniya impressed me the moment I met her on the first day of classes. She is just so articulate, intelligent, thoughtful, and driven. She’s the kind of student who stays after class to continue the discussion or to ask for book recommendations. Not only was she committed to her academics, but she was committed to getting involved in the STAC community as soon as she set foot on campus. In so many ways, she is the ideal STAC student,” says Dr. Shultz.
Another Professor who has greatly influenced Shaniya on her college journey is Dr. Ben Wagner, Associate Professor of Psychology. “Dr. Wagner is one of the sweetest professors at St. Thomas Aquinas College and, his ability to connect with students through conversations about music, dogs, food, and college life makes him one of the most influential professors in my life. Dr. Wagner has taught me about the foundation of psychology through his General Psychology course, and he continues to teach and lead me in the right direction as my advisor. Dr. Wagner has done a phenomenal job at helping me pick courses that meet my needs as a student. He has also connected me with people who are currently working in the psychology field, and, lastly, he is willing to help me and other students succeed in our college careers,” says Shaniya.
Aside from her studies, Shaniya keeps busy by being a member of the Multicultural Student Organization (MSO) and she was also once an active member of the WSTK Radio Club. Some of her favorite hobbies include writing poems, painting, listening to music, and doing yoga. In the future, she hopes to travel to India, the Fiji Islands, Singapore, and Malaysia, and volunteer her services in the peace corps. She also has two dogs, a boy named Jax, and a girl named Juliet. Shaniya is currently a Resident Assistant on campus. “Through this experience, I have learned that I have the heart, the drive, and the skill to help people while balancing being a student. I am determined to help people at any stage in their lives, and I can’t wait to make it a full-time career as soon as I graduate from St. Thomas Aquinas College,” says Shaniya.
Shaniya’s advice for future students is to establish strong connections with the professors in their field of study. Ask questions regarding internships or job opportunities to build on their experience and seek potential opportunities. She also would encourage students to get involved in campus activities as much as possible. She says, “Students should enjoy the college experience and in order to do that, they must step out of their comfort zone and join clubs, talk to upperclassmen, become acquainted with the career development center, and lastly make the best of their four years at STAC!” Shaniya is destined for an incredible future and will definitely leave her mark on campus.