An Albany State University social work major who graduated Saturday will now shift gears and prepare to work on a master’s degree in social work at another Albany State University, well not exactly. Essence Danielle Gant, the former Miss Albany State University in Albany, Ga., received her bachelor’s degree at Commencement exercises last Saturday. Next, she will make her way to the State University of New York, University at Albany (SUNY at Albany) in upstate New York for graduate school.
It is not a coincidence that Gant will be attending the same university attended by her social work professor Dr. Denise Bacchus, assistant professor/field coordinator for social work at ASU. Bacchus, who graduated with a master’s degree in social work in 1997 and a doctorate degree in 2002 from the School of Social Welfare, SUNY at Albany, was a very influential force in Gant’s academic career.
“I chose the University at Albany, New York because I admire Dr. Bacchus,” Gant said. “I like what that institution produced. Even though I had been accepted into social work programs at several other universities, including the University of Georgia, I know the University at Albany will be the place for me.”
Bacchus acknowledges that she prefers and encourages her students to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate level.
“I want to inspire my students to get masters and doctoral degrees,” she said. “This field needs many more minorities with advanced degrees.”
Gant plans to use her education to start a social service agency for battered women and troubled youth. That concept pleases Bacchus who believes that Gant will accomplish whatever she sets out to achieve.
“Essence was one of my best students and I expect nothing but the best from her,” Bacchus said.
If the past is any predictor of future performance then Bacchus’ confidence in Gant is well founded. In her years at ASU, Gant has excelled. In addition to her winning the coveted crown of Miss Albany State University, she successfully served as a member of several organizations and spearheaded successful activities and programs. Among her most prominent organizations were the gospel choir, Student Activities Advisory Board, Paraprofessionals Promoting Peerfection, Eta Delta Chapter of Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She also completed an internship with Lily Pad, where she helped the organization raise funds for charity.
Gant, a 2005 graduate of Evans High School in Augusta, Ga., is a native of Petersburg, Va. She is the daughter of an Army major who retired while stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta.