Graduating senior Darya Thompson finds success, her passion at Alcorn

As one Alcorn State University graduating senior reflects on her journey, she realizes that she is standing in a chapter of her story that once seemed unattainable.

Saturday’s Fall Commencement Exercise will be a special day for hundreds of Alcornites who will become the University’s newest alumni. Darya Thompson, a Jackson, Mississippi native earning a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science, is about to achieve something that she, at one point, didn’t consider pursuing; a college education.

“I did not plan on going to college,” said Thompson. “Before graduating high school, I worked at McAlister’s in my hometown and loved it. I was good at academics, but I never thought beyond where I was at the time.”

The motivation of Thompson’s parents, Darryle and Teresa Thompson inspired her to strive for more.

“My parents always wanted me to do better. They never knew what that would look like for me, but they knew it meant doing something they’d never done before. Faith and trust in God were the only way I knew how to sustain. Those values were taught to me by my parents.”

Thompson’s parents believed in her potential so much, that her mom enrolled her in Hinds Community College in 2015, from which she graduated in 2017. Teresa knew that with prayer and faith that her daughter could achieve much success in college and beyond.

“From the day Darya was born, I wanted her to have more than I did,” said Teresa. “From elementary school to middle school to high school, she was always willing to learn. Darya never allowed challenges to hinder her ability to learn and get her education. I knew she would approach college the same way.”

Watching her daughter flourish is a prayer answered for Teresa.

“When I look at Darya, I see a beautiful young woman who will have everything that God intended for her to have because of her good heart and willingness to fight for it. I wanted Darya to attend and graduate from a school with great recognition because I knew that it would carry her for the rest of her life. I wanted Darya to realize her potential to become great and having this education will stand out among the rest. I know that her future will be a prosperous one. I am a very proud mama.”

Her journey at Alcorn began in 2019, which is when she realized her passion for animals. After trying out other majors, one of them being nursing, and finding that it wasn’t for her, she’s happy to have found a field that fits her interest.

“I’ve always loved animals. Veterinary science is a field that fits me. I’ve taken so many routes before choosing this field of study. I’m happy that this field chose me. I’d like to shout out to Dr. Cassandra Vaughn for making my dreams in veterinary medicine a reality.”

Staying committed to excellence in her studies has opened the door for Thompson to begin a career with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services after graduation. She’s grateful for the upcoming journey, and she encourages her peers to know who they are before starting their journeys in the workforce.

“It feels like the challenge is set. It has been quite the task of trying to establish myself within the workforce. I would encourage anyone who doesn’t have a position after college to understand who you are and what you offer. You’ll learn that working is just what is stated but establishing who you are and knowing what you are great at is a career that’ll never disappoint. It’s never too late to invest in you.”

As Thompson prepares to exit Alcorn, she thanks the University for giving her a family away from home and equipping her for success in the future.

“Graduating feels like I’ve accomplished more than expected. I thank Alcorn for being my home for the past two and a half years. It has been an honor to be a part of such an institution as this. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds and what God offers. May the grass remain greener, the air cleaner, and the water a little sweeter!”