News from The Mahurin Honors College
Danielle Williams Spotlight
- Sydney Windhorst
- Friday, February 25th, 2022
For some Mahurin Honors College (MHC) scholars, college is an opportunity to gain knowledge about a career field they love or find a community that fuels their passions. For others, such as Danielle Williams (MHC ‘25), college is “a place to discover my voice.”
In high school, Danielle began fostering her love for speech and debate. She was an accomplished two-time national qualifier for speech, but still felt there was more she could learn. This yearning for more led her to the internationally-renowned WKU Forensics team.
“The WKU Forensics coaches are absolutely phenomenal. I have learned about structure, eloquence, and addressing different types of audiences. Speech to me is no longer just about winning a competition. I have been taught how to find my voice and message inside of my speeches.”
And with this new found knowledge, Danielle hopes to give a voice to the voiceless.
“WKU has given me the confidence to find the voices of my ancestors. I grew up in an almost entirely white school and found it difficult to speak out about the things that were on my heart because nobody else really understood me. Now I understand I have the ability to say whatever I want to say, and not feel obligated to care about what other people think about it. I'm speaking for the people in the past who weren't able to speak up for themselves. So, I do not just do it for myself, but to help me be a better advocate for others.”
Danielle chose The Mahurin Honors College because she desperately wanted to be challenged to grow and refine herself into a young woman of strong morals and character. Additionally, she appreciated that WKU saw potential and invested in her, and in turn, she looks forward to investing in WKU for the years to come.
Within the MHC, Danielle serves as a teaching assistant to Professor Leah Thompson in Honors 251: Citizen and Self. Honors 251 is the required class for each MHC scholar and addresses the “wicked problems” facing the world and how scholars can grow into active citizens that combat these issues.
“I will say that being a teacher's assistant for Professor Thompson has truly opened my eyes to the reality of the world around me. This class taught me how to actually enunciate and verbalize what it is that I want to do and who I want to be in this world. I feel as if I am more involved and knowledgeable about these issues after taking this course, and I can help other people find themselves while I'm still trying to find myself. We can all help each other.”
Danielle’s greatest message to her fellow scholars is “to guard yourself against conforming to what is trendy or easy.” She implores her peers to pursue the things that bring them joy despite how uncomfortable or silly it seems to others.
As she continues to flourish in the MHC, Danielle hopes to maintain her academic pursuits, seek mentorship from professors, and be actively involved in the NAACP, an advocate program for scholars of color on campus that focuses on inclusivity and assisting scholars of color. We are so proud of the strides Danielle has already made, and encourage her to continue finding and utilizing her voice.