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Despite pandemic challenges, transfer student finds community at PLU

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Image: Biology major Monya-Dawn Wilson ’22 (PLU Photo/John Froschauer)

June 10, 2022

Monya-Dawn Wilson ’22 is a DJS Fellow and Rieke Scholar who came to PLU as a transfer student. Wilson is a Biology major, and dreams of becoming a pediatrician.

“I’ve always liked science and learning,” said Wilson. “I like learning about the body, learning about the mechanisms. There are many avenues of biology, so it’s never boring.”

Wilson’s desire to become a pediatrician stems from a love of helping others. Wilson enjoys taking care of people, especially children. “The core of a profession in medicine is improving the quality of people’s lives.”

Wilson, who has lived in Parkland since middle school, is already practicing community care in her role as a tutor through the Parkland Literacy Center. She tutors local middle and high school youth in all subjects, and hopes to help bridge the gap between the PLU community and the Parkland community at large.

“A lot of people see PLU as a bubble and not part of the larger Parkland community,” Wilson says. “So it is really cool to see local kids coming to campus and getting help and tutoring through the Parkland Literacy Center. We try to help everyone as best we can.”

As a transfer and first-generation student who came to PLU amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Wilson had to be very independent in her journey to college. Despite the hardships, she found her community through the PLU Diversity Center.

“The dCenter is like a family, and all of the Rieke Scholars are very close,” she said. It is a great place for students of color and students who are the first in their families to attend college. It is good to feel seen.”

She enjoys the rich discussions about diversity, justice and sustainability she is able to have with fellow Lutes. “I would like to think I am pretty educated, but I don’t know everything,” she said. “I have learned how to be a better ally to people in academic and professional settings.”

After graduating this spring, Wilson plans to get her license to work as a certified nursing assistant. She also hopes to take some Spanish classes to become fluent, and take the Medical College Admissions Test before applying to medical school.