June 3, 2019 [View Image]
Although DaNika Neblett Robinson was already professionally established when she entered the School of World Studies, her education here has enhanced the perspective and focus she brings to her current role as the Chief Financial Officer of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She returned to campus last month as our alumni commencement speaker.
Robinson held a bachelor’s in Business Administration and was pursuing an accounting degree at VCU when she decided to branch out and take “Introduction to the Old Testament” and “Religions of the World”. The two courses quickly became a major and Robinson ended up getting her second bachelor’s in Religious Studies in 2011. She also expanded on her passion for teaching by serving as a Teaching Assistant for Margaret McKinnon's “Human Spirituality” course as part of her Senior Seminar.
Robinson’s career path shifted thanks to a School of World Studies experiential learning opportunity with the Richmond Peace Festival. This internship motivated Robinson to drop her accounting classes and instead obtain a Master’s in Public Administration focused on non-profit management in 2015. The ever ambitious Robinson went on to earn a Doctor of Education concentrating in Leadership in 2018.
Robinson has always been interested in religion and spirituality; she began teaching Sunday school at age nine! Pursuing the Religious Studies degree not only helped her delve more deeply into her “own personal…faith” but also exposed her to other religions and different ways of thinking.
In particular, the School of World Studies taught Robinson how religion is rooted in culture and as a result enhanced her ability to understand and communicate with those from different backgrounds. As a “diversity inclusion advocate,” Robinson has found that her education here has helped her create a workplace actually grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion instead of using the values as mere “buzzwords everyone is expected to mention during the interview process.”
She continues to explore religion and spirituality as the founder of Wailing Women Ministries and author of “The Metamorphic Journey.” Wailing Women Ministries provides resources to local women of all faiths. The Metamorphic Journey is not only a novella, but a movement Robinson create to help people reflect on transformation and how “true beauty is manifested in the strength of their wings.”
During her graduation speech just weeks ago, Robinson urged the audience to “never stop exploring” and remain “open… to new directions” just as she was during her academic journey. She concluded by urging graduates to know they can “make a difference in the world” and “go forth, be great, and transform, one day… one moment… [and] one journey at a time.”