Faculty Profile: Shermain Reed

Shermain

"Daily I try to remember to ask God to guide me and direct me to complete the daily tasks that are aligned with His will," says Shermain Reed as she has learned to lean into Philippians 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (NIV).

"God has given me vision along with real-world experience, and I believe that gift has equipped me to inspire people to add action to the vision that God reveals on a daily basis. DBU as an institution, the staff that I lead, and the students that we serve all belong to God and I open myself to be used by Him to serve in a dynamic way."

Shermain is from a small town in Eastern Arkansas called Marianna. She grew up in a Christian family that was active in their local Baptist church with several ministers in her extended family, "so I have been connected to people that love God my entire life." Although her dad traveled a great deal for business, both parents were invested in the lives of their two daughters to guide and support them.

"My mother has the kindest heart and is my best friend. My dad and I are ‘twins,’ and we have been inseparable since I was a child."

It was as a student in college at Southern Arkansas University that Shermain really learned what it meant to follow the Lord each and every day. "I learned how to pray, expect answers from God, and seek God’s direction through the reading of His Word."

Her spiritual life had been more of a weekly routine of going to church, but she realized that God was interested in all her daily activities and she could go before Him for guidance and instruction with all matters of life.

Shermain was able to skip the 11th grade and graduated high school early at age 16. However, the summer before leaving for college her dad became very ill and was diagnosed with cancer. Shermain worked two jobs to prepare herself for college and allow her dad to focus on treatment.

"That experience taught me how to overcome obstacles and focus on the big picture. Although daily challenges will occur, I must continue to make the daily steps to achieve my goals. I learned that you should not let the daily challenges delay what God has promised. Life is short and we should achieve as much as we can now."

Shermain's dad proudly watched her graduate from college with a bachelor's degree in social work in 2008 and later in 2012 with her master's degree in College Student Personnel from Arkansas Tech University. Shermain married her husband, Ken, the following year.

The Lord has given Shermain many experiences since then that have prepared her for her current role at DBU as the Director of Financial Aid. In college, she served as a peer counselor for Upward Bound, which shaped her love for event planning and mentoring students. An internship in Greek Life and Multi-Cultural Affairs strengthened her understanding of college culture and how that impacts student's success.

She also learned about the process of enrollment as it relates to financial aid, admissions, and academic advising divisions, serving for three years with the University of Phoenix. Later she was selected to travel to community colleges to help smoothen student transition through the transfer process before becoming a consultant. Her leadership of a successful Department of Education program review served as preparation for the launching of financial aid processing for a new online campus and implementing of new processing software.

"Those experiences have equipped me to understand the entire enrollment process and definitely shapes how I lead and develop policies within the financial aid department. God has used every position to prepare me to work through challenges and collaborate to influence a positive student experience."

After interviewing with the DBU leadership team and learning about the University's vision, Shermain knew that God had equipped her uniquely for this position. "Automation is a goal that we are working towards in financial aid. I truly enjoy finding innovative processing tools to make the financial aid process simple for students and staff."

Shermain has also experienced the support and encouragement of the DBU Family through a car accident and her father's recent critical health issues.

"The amount of prayers, cards, and conversations that have occurred to simply make sure that I was doing well has been very refreshing."

Watching her dad go from non-responsive in the ICU, and preparing herself to say goodbye, to his recovery and attentive conversation in just three days, has taught Shermain to rely on the Lord in every circumstance: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

"We should invite Him into every part of our lives and allow Him to be in control because He cares for us," she says. "Each day all I want is to be directed by God because that covers it all. I plan to live my professional and personal life in that manner."

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.

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