IDEA class of 2015 valedictorian Davonia Moore-Porter was the only IDEA scholar to attend Hampton University that fall, compared with big groups of her classmates who enrolled together at Coppin State University, Morgan State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Living nearly 200 miles away in Hampton, Virginia, "I was homesick," she recalled. "And I had attended IDEA since seventh grade so I was coming into a totally new learning environment for the first time in six years." But Davonia motivated herself by keeping an eye on her future goals to push through the transition.
Fortunately, the shift to college-level coursework wasn't as daunting. "I'm grateful for the academic preparation I received at IDEA," she said. "My English classes at HU seemed more like a review than something new because of all the research papers I had to write in high school."
Davonia is majoring in psychology with a concentration in marriage and family and minoring in leadership studies. She plans to become a family lawyer. Her leadership studies work is part of her participation in the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute, which includes a 400-hour service learning internship in addition to 18 hours of coursework. Davonia and her 120 peers in the Leadership Institute learn about leadership inside and outside the classroom, putting theories into action serving the college and the community. While she initially applied to the Leadership Institute because of the accompanying scholarship, she is grateful for the opportunity to learn and lead at the same time.
"We talk about real-world situations and how to prevent or deal with them. We work collectively on behalf of the university, helping any campus organizations that call us," Davonia explained.
In addition to adhering to the rigorous standards required by the Leadership Institute, Davonia needed to meet even more stringent criteria to qualify for the WDC Harvey Scholarship. The scholarship provides scholars with $2,500 in assistance each year as well as a summer service learning trip to Costa Rica.
"I will be going for 10 nights to three different cities. In addition to the service learning I will be exploring the Costa Rican culture," Davonia said. "This is an opportunity that I definitely do not want to miss. This experience will allow me to be more marketable in the future,"
Davonia credits IDEA with helping to further her education. The staff at IDEA has motivated her to excel at HU. And she has learned that with every challenge she faces, she gains strength to fight through adversities.
"I always have people I can talk to at IDEA. Everyone has been very supportive," she said. "And when I went back to IDEA I was able to speak to seniors about my own experience and what scholarships are available. I loved coming home after my first semester because everyone was so excited I had completed it."
So far her experience at Hampton University has shown Davonia there is always room for growth.