Biology major senior Druzell Smith is a first-generation college student who is dedicated to helping people and is willing to go to great lengths to do so, bettering the community around her one step at a time.
Smith serves as a program mentor for the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program and an EMT for the Geneseo Fire Department, all while starting a program to help students in the Access Opportunities Program acquire the books they need. She has also held an internship at an international health organization and participated in intense leadership camps.
“I wanted to be a GOLD mentor so that I could teach incoming students what I know, being an upperclassman,” Smith said. “I also feel like the GOLD program is an amazing program because it teaches students what you don’t learn in the regular classes.”
Students who work as GOLD mentors are required to complete a project within the community. Smith is starting a program called Book Give Back, where Geneseo students can donate their used textbooks to AOP; the organization will then offer these textbooks to students on rent at a lower cost.
“It’s hard being a first-generation college student because you don’t know what other people know,” Smith said. “I want to spread what I’ve learned to the new, incoming kids—I want to be the one to show them the ropes.”
The summer before coming to Geneseo, Smith attended a leadership camp in Minnesota where she and other attendees hiked at Lake Superior. They were given a point to start the hike and a point to end at by the end of a week, and had to then figure out the rest on their own then.
“[Leadership camp] was rough, but it was an amazing experience,” Smith said.
Originally on the pre-dental track, Smith had a transformative experience through her internship with the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women at GBCHealth in New York City. She was in charge of writing briefs for the president of the organization, managing its sales force platform and working on its website.
“The part of the work that stood out to me was the research that I did, finding out what’s going on in other parts of the world,” Smith said.
Because of this experience, Smith has reconsidered her plans for the future.
“My new goal is to have a non-profit program that works on dental issues in the developing world,” she said. “I still want to have an oral health focus, but my vision has broadened.”
Following her focus on health and helping people, Smith is an EMT for the Geneseo Fire Department, works at the Career Development Department and is on the board for Livingston Cares. Through Livingston Cares, Smith went to Biloxi, Miss. in January to assist with cleaning up flood damage. While there, Smith helped to build houses and also volunteered at a food pantry and at a day shelter.
Regardless of where she ends up, Smith has given a lot for the Geneseo community to be thankful for, improving it during her time here.u