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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Photo of Daisha Williams, a UD 2023 student

Turning Potential Into Action

Growing up on Dayton’s west side in the shadow of the University of Dayton, Daisha Williams lived with her single mother and younger sister. Nobody in her family had earned a college degree before, and she attended an inner-city high school. But she earned good grades, and her hard work paid off. She now plans to graduate from UD in the spring of 2023 with a degree in education.

But being a Flyer wasn’t always a sure thing for Williams.

In her senior year of high school, Williams began visiting colleges she thought she could afford. UD wasn’t on that original list, but something told her not to give up on the idea she could be a Flyer.

She began looking through financial aid options available for students and considered the UD Sinclair Academy — which allows students to begin their studies at Sinclair College and graduate from UD with a bachelor’s degree. She also considered living at home, but neither option was her first choice.

Then, it happened.

Williams learned that she had been selected to join the third cohort of the Flyer Promise Scholars program.

“When I received that Flyer Promise letter in the mail, that was it,” said Williams. “I was ready to pack my stuff up.”

Thanks to donors who give to scholarships like Flyer Promise, Williams stopped worrying about how she was going to pay for college and began turning her potential into action. During her past three years at UD, Williams has served as president of Women of Remarkable Distinction, became community service chair for Black Action Through Unity and secretary for the House of UD and is a student assistant in the teacher education department.

And with graduation within reach, Williams is soaking in everything she can from University faculty, staff and programs. She recently completed micro-credentialing in collaboration, critical thinking, resilience, initiative and empathy from the Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation.

“IACT is special because you can come from anywhere, and you will walk out of there changed for the better. They have enlightened me beyond my years,” said Williams.

During her summer breaks, she’s learning everything she can through internships. This past summer, she worked with Children's Defense Fund Ohio as part of UD’s Statehouse Civic Scholars program, authoring a piece about the positive impact that diverse teachers have on Ohio students.

It all factors into Williams’ overall goal of someday making a difference in our schools, even if she needs to shake some things up for the sake of the greater good.

“Being a Black woman, from a single-parent home, I know the problems people among these groups face because I was that person,” said Williams. “Going into the education field where decisions are being made by people who haven’t been there, I want to be at the table — at the head of the table — and bring my experiences to the discussion.”

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