Driven to Make a Difference: Shani McMichael of Bennett College is Today’s Buddy Scholar

Shani McMichael is an aspiring marriage and family therapist and motivational speaker from Dayton, Ohio.

Shani McMichael
GPA: 3.9
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Major: Psychology
Classification: Rising Senior
Career goal: Marriage and family therapist and an international motivational speaker for women and young girls

Below, Shani shares her post graduation plans, school and community involvement and why she aspires to make a difference in the world.


“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have always had this innate propensity to help others in need. As a child, I can remember countless times where I would give my last to a fellow classmate, or how I would always bring an extra lunch for one of my friends who could not afford one. Even now, as a young adult, I continually give of myself, both intellectually and physically, to various students in my Bennett community.

Being the interpersonal person I am, it usually doesn’t surprise people when I express to them my aspirations of becoming a mental health therapist and an international motivational speaker. It has always been my dream to pursue these two career paths, because I enjoy empowering and leading people to overcome the issues they face.

With these goals in mind, I have spent the past three years of my undergraduate experience cultivating and gaining the skills necessary for me to succeed in my dream careers. For example, I have increased my leadership skills through my service as the Psychology club president, Spanish club vice president, and Social Media and Design Specialist for the Leadership development institute for women. Also, I was awarded the Psychology Club Service award for my ability to step in and lead the Psychology Club during my two-year term.

I have increased my people and public speaking skills through my work as a Lina H. McCord Ambassador for the Black College fund. As an ambassador, I have traveled to various parts of the country speaking in front of crowds of 1000+ people. Furthermore, I have been on the Honors and Dean’s list for the past five semesters. Also, I am a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, and the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.

I have received recognition on having the highest cumulative grade point average of a 3.9 in the psychology department at Bennett College. Even more, I am a member of the Who’s Who Among Students, and I am a member of the American Association of University Women. Not only have I taken my academics and extra-curricula’s seriously, I have been working on increasing my international experience as well. I have had the chance to travel to China, where I conducted research on biofuel energy resources, and my work is soon to be published in a scholarly journal article. While in China, I was immersed in various Chinese cultures, traditions, and histories which sparked my passion for continued international travel.

Finally, as I come to my last year in college, it is my hope to continue to excel in all that I do, because as Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently stated in the above quote, my life’s purpose is to make some difference that I have lived and lived well.

Click here to help more students like Shani excel by making a donation to Bennett College today.

Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White is Director of Digital Strategy for the Tom Joyner Foundation, a writer and editor.