SOSU Alumna, Shanna Douglas Featured in New Choctaw Nation Series, ‘Choctaw Proud’
Douglas Shares Her Story of Perserverance
Published May 9, 2023
DURANT, Okla. – The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s new series of the Together, We’re More campaign titled ‘Choctaw Proud’ features different tribal members each month. This month Choctaw Nation spotlights tribal member and Choctaw Nation associate Shanna Douglas.
From an early age, Douglas knew that learning was her passion, and her parents encouraged her curiosity and desire to explore new ideas.
“My parents taught me that education can’t ever be taken away and that learning is important,” said Douglas.
After high school, Douglas began college. But life can be unpredictable, and Douglas’ plans changed when her children were born, and she put her education on hold to be a mother.
Years later, with her son in high school and her daughter eight years younger, Douglas faced challenges as a young single mother, but she never lost sight of her passion for learning. As a way to motivate her son, she promised to finish her bachelor’s degree if he did all his schoolwork and got good grades.
Douglas’s promise to her son was also motivating for her. “Whenever we become comfortable in our situation, we become complacent, and complacent is something I never want to be,” she said.
Raising two children who are active in sports and school activities can make studying for college classes difficult for anyone. Add to that the extra challenge of caring for parents who are ill, and the stress compounds. But Douglas credits a strong support system for her success. Sometimes study time had to fall between games, but no matter how much her family depended on her, they always gave her the time she needed to do homework.
Douglas graduated with her bachelor’s degree in business management in May 2011, the same month her son earned his high school diploma, and the two celebrated their accomplishments together.
She began working on her master’s degree in 2014, but when her parents’ health further declined, she once again paused her studies to be a caregiver for them.
When her parents passed away, Douglas was left with an empty house. She had always had something to take care of, but with her children grown and her parents gone, she needed something to keep her occupied and help with her grief. She decided to return to school.
Staying focused on the future helped Douglas achieve her long-time goal of finishing her MBA in management. No matter the obstacles and challenges, she never lost sight of her objective. Using resources from the Choctaw Nation’s Higher Education Department and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, she was finally able to graduate with her master’s degree in business from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Douglas’ advice to anyone who has a dream to finish school is to keep going.
“My challenge and someone else’s challenge may be the same, but we may not get through it the same way. We may not get through it even in the same time frame. But it is something we can do if we continue to press forward.”
About The Choctaw Nation
The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 212,000 tribal members and 12,000-plus associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation’s vision, “Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture,” is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity.
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