Daphne Waldrop Dawson `09
Full Name: Daphne Waldrop Dawson
Hometown: Campobello, SC
Class of: 2009
Degree: BA in Middle Level Education, Minor in Mathematics
What is your favorite USC Upstate memory? I know this is going to sound really strange, but it was the first day of my first class – Professor Stavely’s statistics class. I was just sooooo excited to be back in school. In a close second is the day that I saw my undergraduate research in print in Upstate’s 5th Annual Upstate Research Symposium.
What words of wisdom would you like to pass on to future USC Upstate alumni? Never ever let a class get in the way of your degree – let your professor know you are going to dig deep. One class that was in my way was Discrete Math. I had taken it at Furman and had to withdraw and I felt like a failure. If I can’t pass that class, then what business did I have being a math teacher? So, I quit. Then, some years later, I came to Upstate and met Dr. Kelly Waters. I confided in him that I was scared to take the class again because I thought I would just fail again. He told me I was not going to fail because I was determined and that he would not let me. Dr. Waters became more than just a professor at the front of the room; he became my partner in learning. After a slow start, I nailed it.
Do you currently work?If so, what organization are you with, what is your title, and how long have you been with your organization? This is my fourth year at Upstate. After working for three years as the Program Coordinator for Opportunity Network, I spent three years teaching public school. Now I am back in the fold as a Financial Aid Counselor and Loan Officer here at Upstate. It is great to be back. Upstate feels like home.
What do you like most about your job? I enjoy helping students figure out what’s going on with their financial aid. Navigating college aid can be intimidating and it makes me feel good when I can explain what’s happening or fix their problem. I also love finding more money to give them for college.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Although some might think it was getting my degree, I think my greatest achievement is being married for nearly 26 years to my knight in shining armor.
What have been the most influential experiences in your life? Honestly, I flunked out of college the first time I tried. They told me to leave, not come back and not reapply. You might think that was pretty harsh but would you want to have a nurse who couldn’t pass chemistry? That memory has driven to nearly perfect grades in later years. Since then, I have only made two Bs – psychology and history of math.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests? In my spare time, I love to cook and in turn, I have to spend time in the Upstate gym. In addition, I spend a little of my weekend time at Foothills Humane Society working with dogs that are shy and need more socialization.
Additional comments? In the spring, I will start working on my master’s degree in Higher Education Business Administration at USC.
Alumni Relations, along with input from other campus offices and alumni, highlights outstanding graduates throughout the year to let others know of their accomplishments.
Past alumni spotlights are available in our archive of outstanding graduates.