Stepping off the sixth-floor elevators in Pray-Harrold, a laugh erupts which seems to be contagious. Following the laugh, a smile and bubbly personality emerges, that brings smiles from everyone around. Senior Secretary for the English Language and Literature department, Shayna White, is an integral part of many people's success.
White started as a student at Eastern Michigan University in August 2004. Majoring in criminal justice, with a nonprofit leadership management concentration, White earned her bachelor’s and went on to pursue her master’s in public safety administration. Following graduation, she served as a dispatcher from June 2008 to September 2015, when she joined the English Language and Literature department.
Aside from being the secretary for the department, White plans the annual Lyrics-N-Literature program that discusses hip-hop lyrics and how they are directly affected by different pieces of literature.
She is also involved with Swoop’s Pantry and MAGIC. Both organizations provide resources to students in need. Each semester White raises money for these programs and donates the money to help students.
“I love helping the students because as a former student, I know what it felt like to get the runaround, so I want to be better for students,” she said.
White’s philanthropic contributions to students stem from her love for the university and being a product of EMU.
“I feel as if I know the needs of students because I can relate,” White said. “I was there before, and I know what it’s like to need the assistance and not being to locate or have access to the resources.”
As students enter the office searching for various professors, classrooms or simply needing pencils, White is always there to extend a helping hand. She implemented a “give-a-folder” program within the department, that allows students and faculty to donate folders and binders they no longer use. Other students and faculty are able to come in and grab what they need.
“I like to spread happiness to the people at this university, and if making their lives a little easier makes them happy, then I’ve done my job,” White said.
Being the department secretary has allowed White to network with a host of different people, both within the department and outside. Throughout campus, people know who White is and will always lend a helping hand.
“I feel like people can tell that my intentions are strictly to help the students of this university, so they’re more willing to assist in any way that they can,” White said. “The way I act towards the students, the faculty and staff are the same. Anything they need, I try my best to help them.”
White has positively affected so many people involved with this university; she has been nominated for the Distinguished Achievement Recognition Awards under the student engagement and success award sub-category.
When entering the department, you’re bound to feel the bright and pure personality of White due to the smile she keeps, despite what’s happening or the day she’s having.
“Sometimes a smile is all it takes to turn someone’s day around,” she said as she shrugged and continued to smile.
A Flint native, White is engaged to be married and has one 9-year-old daughter who is often seen around the department being as happy, energetic and jovial as her mother.