Dawnetta Wearing has experienced the life-transforming power of a Polk State College education firsthand; so much so that it redirected her career path as she was inspired to pay forward the support she received from College staff.
Wearing was working in tax services when she met Brenda Arnold, who currently serves as the College’s Transcript Evaluator and was a Polk State Financial Aid Specialist at the time. She encouraged Wearing to pursue her higher education.
“She shared with me the importance of education and supported me along the way,” Wearing said. “I told myself I was going to pay it forward, and that is what has gotten me to where I am today.”
Wearing, who started working in the College’s Financial Aid department when she was still a student, was recently promoted to Senior Student Success Advisor overseeing Polk State’s Associate in Applied Science and Arts degree programs.
“The biggest question I receive is ‘is college difficult?’ I always tell students it’s not difficult, it is just going to take some hard work and I will be there with them every step of the way.”
When she completed her Associate in Arts degree, she was motivated to keep going by Senior Student Success Advisor Felecia Zimmerman. She achieved her Polk State Bachelor of Science in Supervision and Management as well as a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
At the time, she aspired to become a professor, but now she serves as both an advisor and an adjunct faculty member teaching freshmen in the First-Year Seminar course. In this capacity, Wearing provides first-time-in-college students with the knowledge and resources needed for a strong foundation as they begin their higher education journeys.
Wearing shared that many students come to her undecided about their majors or career paths. She lends a listening ear for students to talk through their interests and circumstances, while also providing guidance to determine pathways that may be best for them and the courses they need to take to accomplish their academic goals.
“The biggest question I receive is ‘is college difficult?’” Wearing said. “I always tell students it’s not difficult, it is just going to take some hard work and I will be there with them every step of the way.”
“I enjoy my time with the students. I enjoy listening to them and helping them resolve any problems or concerns they may have about school,” she added. “I let them talk it out, learn their strengths and weaknesses, and support them in finding and persisting on their paths.”
When Wearing isn’t working as a Student Success Advisor, she is officiating high school and college sports including Polk State College Volleyball.
“Students should know that they have a strong support system here at Polk State and they should never hesitate to reach out to us for help. We are here for them – We are Polk!”
The Bartow native is proud of her family and is an active member of her church.
Wearing relates to the students she serves, and as a proud Polk State alum, she is a role model for those she works so diligently to support on their pathways to academic success.
“I am dedicated to being the encouragement for our students that the College’s staff was for me when I was a student,” Wearing said. “Students should know that they have a strong support system here at Polk State and they should never hesitate to reach out to us for help. We are here for them – We are Polk!”