One Page Bio | Video Introduction

Donna Starks Donna received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri. She began her career as a K–12 school social worker for the Albany School District in Missouri for three years. Donna was the first social worker ever employed by the district and laid the foundation for future school social service positions before moving to a career in higher education. After spending a summer as the assistant director for the Graceland University TRIO Upward Bound Summer Program, Donna took a position with TRIO Student Support Services, counseling and advising under-resourced, first-generation college students.

Donna has been an advocate and a voice for under-resourced college students on her campus. She has had numerous speaking opportunities to educate staff, faculty, and student leaders about the needs of the university’s under-resourced students and the strategies necessary to retain and graduate them. She is considered an expert on under-resourced college students on her campus and consults with departments and divisions across campus to create a better experience for students.

Donna also works directly with Graceland’s under-resourced student population to build resources and assist them in creating a life of stability and choice. The TRIO team works intentionally with their student participants to help them realize their future stories and assist them with the resources to one day live those stories.

Selected workshops presented by Donna Starks
• Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students
• College Achievement Alliance Certified Training