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First Generation Initiative student spotlight: Destiny Walker ’22

May 24, 2021

Cardinal Update Featured First Generation Initiative News Newsletters Stories Undergrad Student Information

By Krista Joy Coleman

Criminal justice and psychology double major Destiny Walker hopes to make an impact as a community changer and is well on her way. Walker is already very familiar with being a proponent of change in an evolving community. She is heavily involved in the leadership teams of multiple clubs at Saint Mary’s University, including the Merging Intercultural Experiences (MIX) Club and Solidarity Club (to name a few).

Walker participated in Countdown to College (C2C), an immersive academic program on Saint Mary’s Winona Campus to help prepare high schoolers for college life and classes. Her favorite thing about C2C was learning firsthand what to expect in college. “I’m introverted, so stepping into a new environment and getting used to it before starting college was great,” she said.

Throughout the C2C summer program, high schoolers spend time on campus, take classes, and meet other students for two weeks every summer for four years. Students also have the opportunity to receive college credit through the C2C program, something Walker received.

With these credits, as well as credits from Post Secondary Enrollment programs and other advanced courses, Walker graduated early from Washington Technology Magnet High School in the Twin Cities and had a jump start on her college career. She has ambitiously chosen to pursue a double major and will graduate from Saint Mary’s in four years.The junior said she is happy her time on campus with her friends and clubs won’t be cut short.

Walker believes in working hard to achieve goals. However, when offered the First Generation Initiative (FGI) scholarship, she felt uniquely rewarded and recognized for her hard work. “It’s so great to have someone tell me what I do is important and that I need to give myself some credit for the hard work I do,” she said.

Walker has a special appreciation for Winona. She loves walking around town and discovering the local businesses. Drawn to creative environments, she often stops by Jovy Rockey Jewelry Shop, Art & Sõl, and JimmyJams Comic Bookstore to see local art and support creatives in the area.

When she’s not working with one of the clubs on campus or discovering Winona, Walker is diligently working on her coursework. Walker said she feels encouraged by many people at Saint Mary’s and lists Miles Dunna from admissions, Octavia Brown, and Alisa Macksey from the FGI program, and Erin Mae Clark, Ph.D., from the English Department.

“Having people to talk about social justice issues with on campus is so important,” Walker said. “Most of my community is within the FGI program. I really like the people, and they created a family for me when I first got here.”

As the eldest in her family, Walker represents a world of opportunities to her two younger sisters. She hopes succeeding at college shows her sisters they can do anything they set their minds to. “Everyone has different choices they can make. I want to show them that they can go to college if they want to,” she said.

Walker said she always wanted to go to college and was thankful to have the opportunity. She looks forward to a career working with juveniles re-entering society, helping them post juvenile detention to process their past and rejoin their communities. She feels many programs for juveniles have a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t account for cultural background, personal individuality, and family history. It’s her dream to be a part of a program that takes these details into account so she can help young people on individual levels to thrive in the future.

Walker said she is so thankful to FGI benefactors who make everything she loves about the FGI program and C2C possible through their generosity. She’ll continue to pay it forward in a meaningful and life-changing career of helping young people.