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Faith, family, and passion fuel fall student marshal

As she takes a walk on the Bluff, Traci Smith cannot help but reflect how far her faith has brought her. From a loving family to an unforgettable college experience, this social work major is ecstatic to lead the Southern University fall Class of 2018 as chief student marshal. Smith will join more than 400 fellow students receiving degrees on Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.


“There have been so many prayers that have gone up on my behalf and offerings sent my way to sustain my stay here at Southern,” Smith said. “I am so blessed, and I get it. My family is not financially rich; however, they are spiritually wealthy.”


Parallel to her faith, Smith’s family holds an equal place in her life. Their unending prayers and life lessons have propelled her to heights she never knew were possible. Her mother, Jennifer, continuously sprinkled words of encouragement and advice in times of worry and uncertainty. A constant phrase, “Baby girl, you’re all prayed up,” has helped her through numerous difficult times.  


The Port Arthur, Texas native knew it was important — and God’s will — for her to attend a historically black university like Southern. With several family members having attended Southern and Grambling State University, she grew up around the friendly rivalry and fell in love with the opportunities and experiences an HBCU could afford her. She considers being an alumna of Southern “a badge of honor” as she joins the ranks of the people she values most and those who are successful products of her beloved university.


Choosing a rewarding career path, like social work, was a no-brainer for Smith because of the calling placed on her life to be a servant and aid to others in need.


“From a very young age, I’ve always had a passion for helping and serving others,” Smith said. “I have a particular interest in service to my community and empowering families and our youth. I will admit for a moment (that) my human side said ‘no’ because it was not financially appealing. However, my spiritual side — my guide — would not have it any other way and landed me here today successfully.”


From the moment she stepped on campus, Smith’s priority was to make her family and herself proud. Frequently on the Dean’s List, she was active in various organizations, including the Collegiate 100 Black Women of Southern University, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and Girl Talk with God Bible study group. She also served as freshman class finance director, sophomore class business manager, Miss Junior, and senior class senator. Earning the top graduate title was nothing less than an honor and blessing for this future social worker.


“I feel incredibly honored and humbled to be our fall 2018 chief student marshal,” said Smith with excitement. “It is a definite honor and privilege to serve in such a prestigious position. This is another testament to the power of prayer.”


While preparing for the next chapter, Smith sees a bright road filled with trials, prayer and excitement. This summer, she will be attending Louisiana State University in the advanced standing Master of Social Work program. Her long-term goal is to become a licensed clinical social worker in the education setting and open an after-school mentoring program that will impact the lives of generations of families within her community.