By Heather Greene, a graduate assistant in the Office of Public Relations at Jacksonville State.
As early as the fall of 1992, while visiting her sister at Jacksonville State University, Latoya Threatt fell in love with JSU and knew that it was the place for her.
Originally from Pell City, Threatt graduated from Pell City High School in 1999 and after completing some of her undergraduate work at Gadsden State Community College, began her JSU journey.
In 2007, Threatt completed her undergraduate degree majoring in psychology. Now, nearly twenty-one years after her first encounter with JSU, she will be walking across the stage this Friday night to receive her master’s in community/agency counseling.
Threatt describes her time at JSU as a “good experience…it helped me to grow into a better person.” She especially enjoyed her professors and all the nice people she has met along her college journey.
While at JSU, Threatt completed a semester long internship through the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB), working with preschool through twelfth grade students.
She had the opportunity to spend a week at the Helen Keller campus in Talladega and see what it’s like to work with people who live with disabilities. She explains that this internship really helped her understand just how important this type of work is to her.
Threatt dreams of being a mentor and working as a counselor for people with disabilities, which is something that she can personally identify with, as she, too, has a disability – cerebral palsy.
“This is my purpose – to give back,” says Threatt.
While at AIDB, Threatt would be asked about her disability by students, which gave her the opportunity to open up with them about some of her own experience of living with a disability.
“It’s my way of giving back to others who might need someone to listen to and encourage them, to help them with different situations in life,” says Threatt. “I might be in a better position to understand what they are going though, dealing with a disability myself and having my own experience.”
Recently, Threatt has received an award from JSU’s Counselor Education Program for special recognition of her outstanding work in the counseling program.
“Latoya always has shown a positive attitude. She is extremely determined and has always been prepared, punctual, and professional,” says Dr. Tommy Turner, JSU Department Head of the Educational Resources Department and Associate Professor of Counselor Education. “She has persevered through obstacles and circumstances which would perhaps have stopped a person with less determination.”
Dr. Julie Nix, JSU Director of Counseling and Disability Support Services, first met Threatt when she completed her practicum for community/agency Counseling by working with Disability Support Services.
“Latoya has an outstanding attitude and is a pleasure to work with,” explains Dr. Nix. “She is always positive and takes every opportunity to enhance her learning and further develop her counseling skills. Many people have doubts about the skills and abilities of individuals with disabilities, but Latoya will show you that she is capable.”
Dr. Nix looks forward to seeing Latoya “develop professionally over the next couple of years” and believes “she will be an asset to any agency or organization that she works for.”
When it comes to giving advice on achieving one’s dreams, Threatt says, “I believe you should follow your dream. Be dedicated! It may take a little while, because it did take me a little while to get here, but I thank the Lord I made it.”
Sandwiched between an older sister and younger brother and raised by her mother, Threatt has had the help of her family through her college journey, as her sister and mother would take turns driving her to classes.
In her free time, Threatt enjoys shopping, reading (especially romance and mystery novels), concerts, and taking trips to the beach.
Currently, Threatt is in the stage of looking for a job in counseling and would like to eventually earn her doctorate in counseling. With her evident passion for her work, it is clear that Threatt will go far in her career.
Jacksonville State University would like to congratulate Latoya Threatt and all of the 2013 graduates on their hard work and wish them the best in their future endeavors.