Sha’Tara Robinson: Called to Serve
September 12, 2013
Understanding and helping people is not just a career goal for Angelo State psychology major Sha’Tara Robinson, it’s a calling.
A senior from Monroe, La., Robinson is already answering that calling at ASU, first as a resident assistant for Texan Hall and then Vanderventer Apartments.
“I had a Korean exchange student when I was a resident advisor at Vandeventer,” Robinson said. “She said, ‘You all are so patient with us, especially with the language learners.’ I told her that it was Southern hospitality, and that they are the brave ones, that they are doing the hard choice, coming to a foreign country for a whole semester.”
Though she is no longer a resident assistant, Robinson maintains a campus leadership role as president of ASU’s Omega Gamma chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) national co-educational service fraternity.
“A couple of my friends were in it and I fell in love with it,” Robinson said. “We try to do a service project at least three times a month. Our members have to get at least 40 hours of service every semester.”
“People would always come to me asking for my advice,” she added. “I love helping people, and the way that people function and think has always fascinated me.”
Various APO service activities include working with children through the Boy Scouts of America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Angelo, playing bingo with seniors at a local nursing center, volunteering at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and conducting an annual sale of bracelets, earrings and purses for the nonprofit Granada Street Kids organization to raise funds to aid children in Nicaragua. Robinson has also previously served as APO pledge master and vice president of membership.
“I love helping people, and the way that people function and think has always fascinated me.”
“If you need anything at any time, she’s there,” said senior Icey Wilborn, a fellow APO member from Slaton.
Robinson is also there for freshmen in the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work, where she mentors a group of first-year students.
“We pair freshman psychology majors with upperclassman mentors, who help the freshmen adjust academically and socially in the department,” said Dr. Kristi Cordell-McNulty, assistant professor of psychology and program director. “Our mentors receive internship credit and work with about five or six freshman students, in addition to holding weekly study groups and creating a special event for the freshmen.”
As a freshman in 2010, Robinson was one of the first students to be mentored through the program. Now she is returning the favor.
“I just know how it felt to be a freshman,” Robinson said, “coming in, not having your parents or friends here. The new students might need help with homework, and a peer is easier to talk with than a professor. I love being able to help out some of the freshmen, just letting them know I am here.”
“This is Sha’Tara’s second year as a mentor,” Cordell-McNulty said, “and she is one of my best. She is very hard working and dedicated, and has a very friendly, funny personality.”
This fall, Robinson also served outside her academic department as an orientation leader for first-year students during the Office of Student Life’s New Student Orientation sessions.
“I loved it,” she said. “I had so much fun, especially during Rambunctious Weekend. Even though I’m a senior, it seemed like I was a freshman all over again because of the great schedule of events.”
The experience also harkened Robinson back to her own days as a prospective student. Having moved to Fort Worth, she got a postcard from ASU and came for a campus visit. During her visit, a ladybug landed on her hand, a sure sign of good luck.
“I’ve loved it ever since,” she said. “I feel like everything happens for a reason and I feel like I was meant to be here.”
After graduation, Robinson plans to go to graduate school. Her goal is to counsel teenagers, either in a school or through her own practice.
“Being a mentor has made me realize and notice there are so many walks of life,” she said. “I’ll be better equipped to help them, having lived through some of the events that they’re going through.”