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What is your hometown?Haley Stark web

Clearwater, Florida

Where did you attend high school?

Countryside High School (also in Clearwater) 

Why did you choose to attend GSW?

I tend to make the joke that I decided to run away from all of my problems and found my way to Americus. In reality, I needed a fresh start and a big change. A place where I could redefine myself and have a clean slate. And that is exactly what I found. Three years later, here I am with no regrets.

What is your favorite part about GSW?

As cliche as it may sound, it's probably the support network that you end up developing. The people you meet here know you and grow with you. Everyone here, students, faculty, and staff included, supports you not only in your academics but your life and well-being also. That is an essential component to thriving in any setting, and that is what makes GSW so amazing. Everyone rallies behind you, and that is an amazing thing to think about.

What is your major?

I am technically a Junior. I am currently perusing my degrees in Sociology and Criminal Justice with my certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS).

Why did you choose your major?

I am planning on being a victim's advocate for domestic abuse and sexual violence victims. I felt like having the degrees and the certificate would allow me to have a better understanding of the individual, the community, and the legal side of all of my cases. In all reality, I just want to ensure the fact that I am qualified to help my future cases to the best of my ability and ensure the fact that they will receive proper representation.

When is your graduation date?

I graduate next fall with my bachelor's in Sociology and my Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies certificate and then graduate with my bachelor's in Criminal Justice a year after that.

Please list your University highlights, achievement, leadership and awards.

  • Member of SGA two consecutive years in a row (and got elected for next year as well)
  • Storm Spotter (fall 2017 to present, and will be hired next year as well)
  • Sou'Wester Editor in Chief (fall 2018-spring 2019)
  • I made Dean’s List for the first time ever (woot woot)
  • President of the Gay Straight Alliance on campus (2019, and elected to serve next year as well)
  • GSW Safe Place trained and certified
  • Co-Facilitator of the Domestic Violence Support Group hosted by SOWEGA Victims Alliance

What are your plans after graduation?

Oh gosh. Well after my first degree, I plan to continue volunteering with SOWEGA Victim’s Alliance and possibly seek continue employment within the university as I finish my BSCJ. After that, I plan on applying for graduate school to earn my Masters in Social Work (MSW) with the hopes of earning an Undergraduate TA position in the sociology department there.

Who is your favorite professor? Why?

Uh oh, you have really put me on the spot here. I have developed a great one on one relationship with all of my professors here, especially within the sociology department. But if it came down to only one, I would have to say MC Whitlock. She is the type of professor that gets to know you and really gets engaged with you as an individual. But she also makes it a point to continue to push you in your academics because she knows that there is always room for you to improve. Even at your best, there is still an opportunity to a little bit better. That push, and the fact that I am extremely stubborn, is the thing that really allows me to thrive and excel as a student and as well as a person.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I read. A lot. I am a huge geek when it comes to that. I could just sit in a blanket burrito with some coffee and a huge stack of books and be set for days. But I also like to make a point to spend time with my close friends. Especially with how busy and involved I am with campus, I think that it is vital to take a break and spend time with the people you love and enjoy being around. My friend group and I tend to make it a point to have a "family" dinner night at least once every two weeks. We all just get together, make way too much food, have a pot luck style dinner, and just talk and fool around. It's that one thing that I always look forward to, and really hope I can continue as we all graduate and go our separate ways.

Fun fact about you?

Hi, my name is Haley, and I am an addict. It all began in the fourth grade when my parents started making some gas station stops on my way to school. That's where I first was exposed to beautiful thing called caffeine. I am a huge sucker for coffee. Seriously, like if you ever need to bribe me or upset me and need forgiveness, coffee is the way to go about it. My students will joke around about me bringing an entire pot of it to my classes in the morning. I once took a job as a barista, and the soul reasoning behind it was the fact that I could get free drinks while on shift and get paid to do it hahaha. I am pretty sure that I have unintentionally made myself a few concoctions that should have been lethal... but I am still here sooooo. Also, I am 5'9 so I know for a fact that mess does not stunt your growth. I am evidence of that.

What advice would you give incoming freshmen?

There is an overwhelming sense of comfort that seems to follow familiarity. This, in my opinion, is what keeps so many people stagnate in life. So, despite the fact that big changes can be scary and intimidating, don't let that hinder you from trying something new. Whether it’s in your career, relationships, academics, or anything else in life. Change can be an amazing thing, even though it can be terrifying. I mean just look at me. I was horrified when I actually moved away from home to start school here. Now, I am up on the website for everyone and their mother to see haha. And trust me when I say that I never thought that would happen. So, take that leap. I think that what you will end up achieving in the long run will surprise you.

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