Tanika Thompson '07

Tanika “Shay” Thompson is a 2007 graduate of the UWG with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.   She lives in Carrollton and is the co-chair of the Public Relations Committee for the Young Alumni Council.  Shay believes that the educational experience she gained at UWG was the key factor in obtaining her current job as a 3rd grade teacher at Glanton-Hindsman Elementary School where she has been for the last 6 years.  In fact, she was offered the position while completing her internship during her senior year.  “The educational classes and field experiences I received up to that point helped me to shine as a student intern and show the principal and other team members that I would be a valuable asset to their faculty.”  Shay has continued her education receiving her master’s degree from another institution and this summer will return to UWG to begin her specialist degree in Instructional Technology.

As a student, Shay took advantage of many opportunities to be involved.  She served as a community volunteer, received etiquette coaching, met influential women in the community, and given the chance to mentor middle school students among other valuable experiences.  She was also one of the founding members of the “Women of Diversity” student organization whereby many lasting friendships were formed. “Through this organization I was able to gain a lifelong sisterhood with other women of similar and dissimilar backgrounds.”  In fact it was this organization that provided her with one of her favorite memories from her time at UWG.  “A favorite memory from West Georgia would be participating in the Day of the Damsels with the Women of Diversity.  It was a time for us to get together socially and just enjoy each other’s company and forget about our stresses for a while.”

Additionally, Shay also served as a Phonathon Operator for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving.  She says that through this position her supervisor, Sharon Kraemer, Assistant Director for Annual Giving, gave her the opportunity to develop and expand her leadership potential.  “Mrs. Kraemer was full of advice and warmth. It was like having family away from home. Even to this day I know that if I needed her she would be there for me.”  This leadership potential has driven Shay to stay involved with UWG after graduating.  She feels that her membership in the Young Alumni Council gives her a chance to give back to the institution that gave so much to her.  “By giving back my time I am able to gain a sense of pride in knowing that I am able to show my appreciation to the university and all that have helped me become the woman I am now.  I've made lifelong friends and contacts that have and will continue to impact my career and life positively.”

Shay says that the best advice she has received is to “never stop pushing yourself.  Even when you think you’ve made it, you have to continue to move forward because there’s always someone else out there eager and waiting to steal your spot.”  When asked about what advice she could offer to today’s UWG students, Shay said simply to never give up even through the hard times. “College is not for the faint of heart, and it’s not always going to be easy.  It’s going to come with struggles: financial, educational, emotional, etc.  As long as you keep your head up, stay positive, and keep moving forward you will reap the rewards of your hard work.”