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NSU graduate has big plans

By Alexis Williamson

Intern

D’Avion Godwin has graduated under unusual circumstances more than once in the last few years.

When she graduated from Lakeland High School in 2017, she had already received her associate degree from Paul D. Camp Community College about a month prior.

And just this spring, she graduated in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t quite what she imagined, but she still has sights set on her future.

Godwin, 21, graduated cum laude from Norfolk State University this spring with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. She will be going on to get her master’s degree in physician assistant studies next fall.

D’Avion was born and raised in Suffolk and currently resides in Portsmouth.

She started Dual Enrollment classes while still a junior in high school, so she graduated with her associate degree a month before graduating high school.

She knew there were going to be challenges coming her way with being a high school student taking college courses. It helped her in the long run, though, preparing her for college life at a four-year university.

“It was a sacrifice,” Godwin said recently. “It took a lot of determination and effort to complete the courses. It prepared me for more significant situations when I finally reached a four-year university. It was all worth it because it saved me time and money, of course. I did not have to adjust to the college lifestyle when I finally went away to a university because I was so used to completing multiple assignments at a time and taking on a lot at one time.”

Her inspiration to take the Dual Enrollment classes was Travis Parker, PDCCC Upward Bound director.

“He is the reason that I began taking Dual Enrollment classes and continuing to get my associate degree,” Godwin said. “Every year, he takes a group of kids and challenges them to become their best selves. He gives you that warm and joyous feeling that makes you feel like he is not only your director but also your family. He has poured into so many lives over these years as well as he poured into mine greatly. He has encouraged me and pushes me, and he is a great part of the reason that I am a success today. He was not the only person directing that program, but watching him show me how one person who was once a total stranger can ultimately turn your life around.”

Godwin decided to major in biology because she had always had an interest in math and science. She wants to get into the medical field.

“I knew I wanted a career where I was able to help others and interact with individuals daily, so I chose a career path in the medical field, and I knew biology was the major I needed to get me where I want to go,” she said.

Due to COVID-19, college classes had to go on online for the remainder of the spring semester. Online learning is an adjustment for most college students, but Godwin said nothing changed for her.

“Most of my work was done online anyway,” she said. “We use classroom times for lectures. I did have to take more time to sit down and study material by myself, but the only major change was the workload became more extensive during the quarantine.”

Due to the pandemic, Godwin and her classmates were not able to walk across the stage and celebrate with their family and friends. However, some colleges have postponed their graduation ceremonies until December. This pandemic has made people think outside the box on some important moments in their lives, so Godwin has decided to host a drive-through graduation parade to celebrate her graduation. It will take place at 3 p.m. June 13 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

Godwin doesn’t plan to stop now. She has been looking at medical schools, but she is mostly looking at universities with physician assistant programs. Her dream is to become a physician assistant in obstetrics and gynecology.

“I was looking into Eastern Virginia Medical School,” she said. “The rest are physician assistant programs at universities. I’m looking at Radford University, Emory and Henry College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and my top school right now is Augusta University.”