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Graduating student spotlight: Cherann Marie Daniels

First-generation student dreams big, doesn’t disappoint

Cherann Marie Daniels will receive her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences – Human Services on June 16. Cherann’s personal history and the support she is receiving is driving her to become a social worker. She will begin Portland State University’s master of social work program this fall.

What led you to choose your major?

“I had a pretty traumatic childhood and wanted to work with underserved populations. My hope is to work with children and families who have experienced trauma and give them the support they need to build resilience and lead productive lives. If it weren’t for the few supportive adults in my life, I wouldn’t have made it so far. I want to be that person in someone else’s life.”

Did you face any significant challenges while pursuing your degree?

“My biggest challenges were probably financial and emotional. I didn’t begin my education until I was 34 because I had no idea how to start. The smallest things were overwhelming: filling out applications, figuring out how to apply for financial help, and believing in myself. When I finished my Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree (AAOT) through community college, I had to figure out how to apply to a university. It was intimidating. No one in my family had been to college so I had to overcome the fear of failure.”

What is your proudest accomplishment while at OSU?

“I was able to keep straight As my entire education. Before I started at OSU, I was worried I wouldn’t do well, but I proved myself wrong.”

What’s next for Cherann?

“I am starting Portland State University’s online master of social work program this fall. I have interviewed for a social service specialist position through the Department of Human Services as I hope to work as a caseworker while I get my master’s degree. Then, I want to become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) so I can work with children and families who have gone through traumatic life experiences.”

How has being in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences prepared you for what’s next?

“I learned so much from my professors. I felt supported and encouraged in the field of study I had chosen and in my future endeavors.”

What advice do you have for current students?

“When you dream big, there are always opportunities to fail. Life is about being brave, not perfect. Don’t be afraid to fail. Go for your dreams!”

Any final thoughts about your time at Oregon State?

“It is an experience I didn’t believe I could have, and I couldn’t have chosen a better school.”