LaTrena Stokes is a recipient of the Women of UGA Scholarship from the Jeannette Rankin Foundation who believes in “divine opportunities” and encourages others to keep moving forward in their lives.
Clarke Central High School
B.S.F.C.S. in human development and family science, A.B. in religion
Bachelor’s of theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary (summer 2013)
Associate’s degree in technical communications from Athens Technical College
University highlights, achievements and awards:
In summer 2011, I was the first recipient to receive the Women of UGA Scholarship from the Jeannette Rankin Foundation. In August 2012, I was selected as youth pastor of the Miracle House Church International, Inc. In October 2012 at the H2R Conference in New Orleans, I presented on a publication entitled “Engaging African American Men in Empirically Based Marriage Enrichment Programs: Lessons From Two Focus Groups” from UGA’s ProSAAM Project.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am the first from my family to attend UGA. However, my 10-year-old son Cameron already has his mind set on attending UGA.
I chose to attend UGA because...
… the timing was perfect! I had just completed my degree in technical communications at Athens Technical College and it had always been a dream of mine to attend UGA. The transition from working full time at UGA to full-time student just felt right. I believe in “divine opportunities” and the door for this opportunity was standing wide open. I only had to make the decision to walk in.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
I don’t get to enjoy a lot on campus but when time allows, my boys and I enjoy attending a basketball or baseball game together.
When I have free time, I like...
… to volunteer in the community and travel. I have enjoyed four cruises on Carnival Cruise Lines with my traveling buddy Auntie Debra Yates to quite a few of the islands in the Caribbean. We are looking to set sail to Aruba this year for cruise No. 5.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… drive a U-Haul truck (the largest one they have) from Athens to San Diego with my best friend Candi Morris. Her husband was in the military and was out at sea. His new tour would land him in San Diego. She wanted to have their new home ready once he arrived. Her family helped us pack the U-Haul, and with her two children (2 years old and 4 months old) and towing her vehicle behind us, we made the journey. We only stayed in a hotel for one night and still managed to complete the trip in four days. Wow—I would do it all over again if I had to.
My favorite place to study is...
… the science library or the computer lab in Dawson Hall.
My favorite professor is...
Melissa Kozak is on the top of my list at UGA. She embodies the characteristics of an ideal professor. She’s approachable, welcoming, intelligent and, most of all, caring. My interactions with her were minimal, but she’s the type of professor that I pray I will continue to encounter while at UGA. Debbie Phillips is super fantastic and right next to marvelous. I love the energy that she brings to our classroom. The experience and knowledge that she has is mind blowing.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
Two of my heroes are Annie Mae Anderson, my paternal grandmother, and Frances Vaughn Watson, my maternal grandmother. I was only 7 years old when grandma Annie Mae lost her fight with cancer. All I have are photos and the stories from my family members of what an amazing woman she was. Grandma Frances instilled in me to believe in myself. She wouldn’t allow me to adapt to my environment but challenged me to soar. She taught with a wisdom that is so rare. If I could share an afternoon with these two phenomenal women, it would be indescribable!
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… erase doubt from the minds of every human being. If only individuals wouldn’t dwell on the what-ifs and just give it all they have, the results I believe would be limitless.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
… ensure that everyone has the level of education he or she desires to have. While I know that some individuals don’t complete their education for various reasons, no reason would be good enough for them not to have a minimum of a high school diploma. I know of individuals now that would like to complete their high school diploma but just don’t have the financial stability to back it.
After graduation, I plan to...
… keep it moving on to graduate school. At the moment I am considering completing my master’s degree in education.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
… sharing my story with Cecilia Herles of the Institute for Women’s Studies and the Triota honors members. I may never know the impact that I had on all those in attendance, but I just trust that it gave at least one young lady the boost that she needed to keep moving. I used an acronym with them that I picked up some years ago that I keep before me: F.R.O.G. = Fully Rely On God.