Harolynn Williams, academic adviser for pre-health students, received the 2017 Spirit of Innovation Award because of her warm and inviting character and her dedication to helping students.
She is respected as a leader and advocate who makes a positive impact on students at Wright State and in the local community.
Williams exhibits a creative spirit and a strong work ethic. She voluntarily steps up not only to mentor undergraduate and graduate students but also high school students. She has created college readiness workshops and delivered important information to students who may never have understood the value of a college education. She is currently completing her doctorate in higher education leadership.
Williams has invited students on campus to shadow her and experience a career in higher education. As a mentor in the Ujima Program, offered by the Bolinga Black Cultural Resource Center, she serves as a “big sister” to first-year students. She also coordinates the post-baccalaureate pre-medical studies certificate program, taking graduate students under her wing, sharing her ideas and strategies on growing professionally and being successful in matriculating their desired health professional school.
Williams is very knowledgeable about the changing environment of health care and provides students with up-to-date information.
“Her secret sauce recipe for building a competitive application is invaluable and well received,” said Jaqueline Neal, assistant dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “There is no doubt in my mind that she has made a significant impact on each of these individual’s lives. She is a collaborative, caring and thoughtful employee.”
Neal praised Williams’ ability to design and implement new programming; develop innovative ways to “give more with less” and to never give up. She also called Williams courageous and said she embraces challenges with open arms, quickly finding ways to resolution. On numerous occasions, Williams has been a team player and performed tasks outside of her duty to get a job done.
Williams has strong interpersonal, organizational, mentoring and planning knowledge and skills. She enthusiastically shares Wright State’s mission with people she encounters and makes them feel appreciated.
Wright State also benefits from her passion for the university and commitment to serving students by her active involvement in the Dayton Public Schools. In order address the persistent problem of the under-representation of African-American, Hispanic and Native American students in STEM, Williams partnered with the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center to design and implement the Paul Laurence Dunbar Pathways Program.
This program provides college readiness experiences to honors students from Thurgood Marshall STEM, Ponitz Career Technology Center and Dunbar Early College High School. High school advisers and honors students routinely express their appreciation that Williams informed them about Wright State and how she inspires students to keep reaching for their dreams.
Due to deep connections in the Dayton community and faith-based organizations, Williams has collaborated with Dayton Children’s Hospital, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Rocking Horse Federally Qualified Health Center and Northeast Ohio Medical University. She received a $100,000 grant to help Ohio students whose school districts lack the resources to prepare for a career in health care.
Wright State became an independent institution in 1967 and spent the next 50 years growing into an innovative leader in affordable and accessible education. In 2017, it celebrates its 50th anniversary and sets the course for the next half century.