Junior public relations major Danielle Griffin received this year’s Ralph Rascati Outstanding President’s Emerging Global Scholars award from Kennesaw State on Feb. 17, for exemplary community and global engagement.
Griffin said she was stunned to hear her name announced as the 2020 award winner, as it is given to one second-year PEGS student annually, according to the KSU News. Knowing all of the candidates in the program made receiving this award more of an achievement in her mind, she said.
Griffin described her emotions at that moment as a mixture of shock and gratitude.
“My values are service … and helping others,” Griffin said. “So the fact that someone else saw that and thought that it was worthy of an award was really [an honor].”
Griffin distinguished herself as a particularly qualified honors student in numerous ways. She said she has participated in mission trips to Costa Rica and Cuba to assist struggling communities in acquiring basic resources. Additionally, Griffin has coordinated and performed in KSU dance service events and even served as an ambassador during homelessness awareness week, assisting guest speakers in spreading awareness about the plight of the disadvantaged.
Griffin said she joined PEGS to visit retirement homes and socialize with the elderly.
“I initially applied to be in the PEGS program because … it would refine my best qualities,” Griffin said. “It’s dedicated to service and professionalism.”
Griffin joined in activities designed to assist those in need directly. She and other students stocked the Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment Services pantry, a collection of donated groceries for students experiencing food insecurity. She also took part in an event called the Sleep Out Challenge hosted on the Marietta campus, which is designed to increase homelessness awareness, according to the CARE website. Students were served food similar to that from a soup kitchen and had to find means to sleep outdoors.
She also noted that being such a varied student was not all easy. In previous semesters, stress from classes would carry over into others. Finding a balance for all of the different things she loves to do is something she used to struggle with.
Griffin attributed her adaptability and work ethic to a value system that leads her to admire excellence in the people around her and in herself. She said that this value system has been nurtured by the honors college faculty, which she referred to as one of the best in the world. The staff helped her find her passion, which she believes is instrumental in reaching one’s full potential.
Griffin believes that loving one’s work is the key to inspiration.
“When you operate in [a field] that you love, you’re naturally going to give your all to it,” Griffin said. “Other people will see that. Find something that you love to do, and do it.”
In the future, Griffin said that she hopes to work in ministry or to continue her work in the marketing department at the KSU College of Professional Education. She has also considered starting a nonprofit organization to help those with anxiety and depression, hoping to aid the global mental health crisis someday.