SWOSU grad strives to make an impact in children’s lives
Whitney Dunn has always had a passion for making a difference in the lives of children. Growing up in Mustang, Oklahoma, she gravitated toward jobs that allowed her to work with young people. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always worked with children,” Dunn said. “From my very first job at the YMCA to now, children have been at the center, and I don’t see that changing.”
Dunn had a passion for basketball as well, which led her to Southwestern Oklahoma State University for her junior and senior year. Dunn attended The University of Central Oklahoma, but she transferred to SWOSU when she was recruited to compete on the basketball team.
“Initially, I was worried SWOSU’s campus would be too small for me, but I quickly realized the campus size was perfect,” Dunn said. “ I was able to make connections easily and felt right at home.”
Dunn pursued a degree in kinesiology with a minor in sports management. She still credits her professors for the way they supported students and connected them to resources in the community.
“Professor Amber Sturgen was one of my favorite professors because she was truly invested in our education and expected nothing but the best,” Dunn said. “I liked the feeling of being challenged, and she went out of her way to connect me with jobs or internships.”
The easy accessibility to professors and the level of investment the university puts into their students was something that stood out to Dunn. “I never felt lost on campus,” Dunn said. “If I ever needed help or guidance, there was someone to help immediately, which is not something I would have found at a larger school.”
After graduating, Dunn worked at several nonprofit organizations, including the YMCA, ultimately leading to her role as the executive director of The Boys and Girls Club of Norman. In her leadership role she is heavily involved in operations and administration, but she tries to interact with the kids as much as she can.
“My role mostly revolves around grant management, securing funding and conversing with the board,” Dunn said. “However, I never want to lose the most important aspect of my career, which is creating a safe and stable place for youth.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Norman, Oklahoma, where Dunn resides, is unique from other agency locations. “At our location we have The Center for Children and Families in the same building, so our members can receive therapy,” Dunn said. “This sets us apart because it eliminates the travel hassle for guardians, and we have a highly-trained staff.”
“My time at Southwestern in the City of Weatherford taught me how a community bands together to invest in those who need it, and I hope to make that same impact.”