Da’Nesha Davis M.A. ’24

Graduate Student

Words: Cassidy Keenan ’21
Photos: Tony Hughes

Portrait of Wheaton College graduate student DaNesha Davis

“Holy Spirit, be in my home,” Da’Nesha Davis M.A. ’24, prayed in the Terrace Apartments during the fall of 2022, as well as in Fischer Hall in the spring of 2023. “I pray that whoever comes through my door will have an encounter with God.”

As she embarked on a period of service as a graduate resident adviser, the most important thing to this first-generation graduate student was to serve the undergraduates, offering them hospitality and love. Now, a year later, she still runs into former residents on campus who call her by name and thank her for her thoughtfulness, especially her care-filled weekly emails.

“Even with a small thing, showing kindness and showing love, even through emails, you can make a difference,” Davis said.

This propensity for love and service has led Davis to seek her master’s degree in higher education and student development. Her passion for making a difference in students’ lives is evident in her voice when she tells her story. From her roots in Detroit to Trinity College in Florida, and now to Wheaton College, Davis earned an undergraduate degree and is currently  studying for a master’s. She walked the lonely road of a first-generation student, battling imposter syndrome, experiencing the brokenness of the world with sharp clarity, and learning self-love in order to make an impact on students. She has paved the road to make it smoother for those who come after her.

“My favorite quote is, ‘Behind every student who believes in themselves is a teacher who believed in them first,’” Davis said. “That’s why I decided to pursue this course of work. So I can be to students what so many have been to me. So I can make a difference.”

Aside from her immense passion for education, Davis’ life is a kaleidoscope of care, both for herself and others. Whether experimenting with new vegan recipes, visiting organic restaurants in the city, or unlearning the art of people-pleasing to become a better advocate, Davis continues to forge her own path. And when asked if there was one thing she could be certain of moving forward, the waymaker simply responded, “That I’m inside God’s will for my life. I don’t know what the future may hold, but no matter what it is, I’m going where he’s leading and directing me.”