Dajha White, a second-year student in the clinical counseling program in the Department of Psychology, is a 2019 recipient of the Donald F. McHenry Fellowship. Originally from Robbins, she graduated from Illinois State with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2018.
White developed an interest in psychology after taking her first related class as a junior in high school. She became curious about why people behave the way they do and wanted a way to better understand the community and family interactions around her. Desiring to work in a field that involves helping people, White had found her path.
As a graduate student, White chose the clinical counseling sequence because she enjoys working with kids and is a product of youth programs herself. Mentors in the after-school and extracurricular programs she participated in had a strong influence in her life and she sees this as an opportunity to give back.
“I want to help youth whose situations resemble the issues I saw in my neighborhood growing up”, said White.
She will soon be completing her capstone project which focuses on how racial identity in African Americans affects the ability to cope with race related stress. After she graduates with her master’s degree in the spring of 2020, White plans to work as an adolescent therapist and focus on underserved populations and at-risk youth, either through the school system or a mental health agency.
Donald F. McHenry ’57, a United States Ambassador to the United Nations, participated in many student activities during his time at Illinois State. He was a member of the student chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the student radio station and participated in theater productions. In 1956 he captained the debate team and was named Outstanding Debater at Illinois State and in the United States. McHenry attributed much of his success as a diplomat to these and other experiences at Illinois State that helped him strengthen his communication skills and deepen his understanding of the great issues that helped him so ably serve in his role as ambassador.