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Education & Social Science Graduates

Barzanna White, Ph.D.

What I do now:
Currently, I am the District School Psychologist and the School Climate Transformation Grant Director for Caddo Parish Schools. I also teach at two universities as adjunct faculty and have my own educational consulting firm.

My work/job consists of:
As the District School Psychologist, I serve 64 schools and handle crisis intervention. This means that on average, I serve more than 350 students that are in crisis yearly. In addition, I am the Director of the School Climate Transformation Grant (4.9 million), and I supervise staff related to the project. Besides Federal grants, I also manage 5 others. In addition, my duties include training all counselors, security coordinators, behavior specialists, and others on prevention initiatives (suicide prevention, bullying prevention, PBIS, school climate, MTSS, drug prevention, etc.) yearly.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
Although I started in pre-med, it was the summer between my second and third year at LSUS when I became fascinated with the field of psychology. I took one course from Dr. George Kemp and was immediately converted! He was such a wonderful mentor that he became my unofficial advisor throughout my time at LSUS even though he was the chair of the department. After graduating with my BS, I stayed for my specialist degree before earning my doctorate at the University of Tennessee. It was during this time of my life that I not only worked as a traditional school psychologist but I also taught at 3 universities. I moved home in 1995-96 to be closer to my dear parents and began working full time for Caddo and part time for LSUS. Although my career has evolved over the years and my duties have grown significantly, I still love what I do. But always striving for more, I started my own consulting firm many years ago and thoroughly enjoy the diversity that this brings. I don't require a lot of sleep, so I thrive on being able to balance all of the initiatives.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
My family and I moved to Shreveport when I was in the third grade and LSUS was just a couple of buildings surrounded by cotton fields. I remember as a child telling my parents that it would be really great to attend college so close to home. And many years later, I was able to do just that...except that the small college had grown extensively. It had a fine reputation, a smaller student-to-faculty ratio, a faculty with more terminal degrees, and they offered a few advanced degrees. Although I had scholarships for both academics and twirling, I chose LSUS and it was one of the best decisions I ever made!

Fond memories of LSUS:
I have many fond memories, but most are connected to the wonderful professors at the time. Dr. George Kemp continues to be one of my mentors to this day as he is a person of exceptional character and a genuinely great man. Other prominent faculty include Dr. Mattie Mosley, Dr. Jean Hollenshead, Dr. Pat Stanley, Dr. Bob Benefield, Dr. Gary Rush, Dr. Pat Doerr, Dr. Georgia Wills, and Dr. Jimmie Smith. I would also like to thank a professor outside of the college, Dr. John Hall. With his "far side sense of humor" and his extensive love of travel, he made geography and anthropology really exciting! And now that I am older, I have been able to travel extensively and experience a lot of the world firsthand.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Words cannot express my deepest gratitude for the aforementioned faculty. Each of them will always hold a dear place in my heart!

How LSUS helped me succeed:
Small class sizes and professors that know you by name was an important factor in my success. They demonstrated quality traits, often practiced in their respective fields, and cared about the success of their students. For them, it was more than a job and this was evident on a daily basis.

Advice to college-bound students:
In order to be successful, you must set short and long-term goals, get up each day with purpose, learn at least one new thing daily, and not be afraid of challenging the status quo. Great success in life is often accomplished by those who think outside the box.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
I truly believe that all careers are what you make of them. Although everyone has good and bad days, a positive attitude, perseverance, and dedication will result in a phenomenal career. If you don't fit the organization, find a new place where you can thrive!

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Before you settle on one major, shadow a professional or complete field experience. This gives you the opportunity to try on many fields before you have to select one major. You will know when you have found the right career path when you wake up every day with the desire to learn all you can about your major. If you pick correctly, you will be blessed with a lifetime of getting to do what you want....making work feel more like fun!

My toughest professional challenge:
When I was in graduate school, I always assumed that I would eventually teach at the college level. Currently, I have the best of both worlds and would not change a thing.

My toughest personal challenge:
Because I love to work, I have a very hard time saying "no"! I have a true zest for life and I'm involved in many things that I love, both professionally and personally. Although I continue to work well over 60 hours weekly, I have begun to have more balance between my personal and professional life....leaving more time for friends, animals, and traveling.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
- Character Education Governor's Award Winner
- Heroes in the Fight, Louisiana State Mental Health Individual Award Winner
- Circle of Excellence Award Winner for Leadership and Professionalism
- Sprint Character Education Winner
- National Promising Practice Award Winner
- Federal and State Grants - Awarded over $15 million in 20 years

I've learned this from life:
Just when you think everything is planned, life throws you a curve ball. Over the years, I have learned to go with the flow and try to make "lemonade out of lemons". It's not always easy, but after all, it's the journey that matters.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
If I had all the time in the world, I would take a world cruise! It would be great to see new and exotic places and visit some of the destinations I previously visited.