Dr. Renne’ Watson has officially moved on to her position as the new Student Affairs Vice President at Central Michigan University. As the previous Minority-Serving Institution Student Council (MSISC) advisor, she elected Dionna McDonald to take up the mantle and continue this important work. Below is an interview about Dionna McDonald’s thoughts on this new position.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to this moment.
Hailing from Louisville, KY, my journey of 1,000+ miles to join the UNLV family started with an open mind to learn and explore more. Identifying with she, her, and hers pronouns.
My higher education career journey began while I pursued my Business Administration degree at Kentucky State University (a historically black college university). Although I was focused on pursuing a career in business or human resources, during a one-on-one meeting, a former supervisor inquired about my career plans, sparked my interest in higher education, and encouraged me to wisely think about the positive impact and influence I could have working with college students. After embracing the idea, and starting in Residence Life as a volunteer resident assistant, progressing to the director of residence life, transitioning to serve as the director for strategic initiatives, over 20 years later, I’m now serving as the MSISC’s advisor. Previously creating and implementing ongoing student experiences and development opportunities such as Let’s Learn Korean, My Brother’s Keeper, and Treasures I look forward to what is to come.
As much as possible, I love to laugh, have a great time attending concerts and festive events, spend time with family, travel, and attend retail “therapy” (shop).
How do you feel about the role?
I’m excited to serve in this role and continue to help trail blaze the way for our historically underrepresented students. I’m enthusiastic about what the future holds for our students and institution as both are evolving to enhance the experiences of UNLV and the community. Embracing the endless possibilities of more great things to come, I welcome ideas, collaborations, and opportunities from all.
You’ve been working with Dr. Renne’ Watson on the MSISC since the beginning. What have you learned from Dr. Watson that you can bring with you to this position?
Over the past three years, Dr. Watson and I worked together on various things. Both of us tend to be creative and like to think outside of the box; however, she has taught me how to do so at greater heights.
Are there any new ideas or new attitudes that you look forward to bringing to the council?
I’d like to see the council increase its visibility, hands-on interactions, and ways to infuse awareness and opportunities to represent our historically underrepresented students.