By: Dezaray Barr
Liza Mcdaniel graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2017 with a degree in Criminal Justice. Mcdaniel was led to attend IWU because of a call from the Lord. “As cliché as it sounds, Jesus was why I came to IWU,” she shared. “I came from Georgia, so not much else would have me pack up my life and move 700 miles. My RD at my previous college mentioned that she had family who went to IWU, and ever since our conversation, I just felt the Lord leading me to apply. Once I got accepted, I knew it was something I had to do.”
During her time at IWU, she worked for Campus Police and was a RA in Martin Hall. “It was the most challenging and fulfilling college experience I had. Much like any college experience, it also consisted of lots of late night food,” she said.
At IWU, Mcdaniel said she fell completely in love with the Lord all over again. “The first college I went to was a public university, where not everyone had faith. I loved that atmosphere because of the opportunity to evangelize, but IWU was a place where I got to grow myself instead of trying to help others grow,” she explained. “I learned how to make sure God is my priority.”
Now, Mcdaniel is a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She said that her experience with campus police has greatly affected her current position. “My job with Campus Police is one of the most amazing things that came out of IWU for me. Mario Rangel was more than just our boss. He was a mentor and genuinely cared about our well-being,” she said. “Working alongside incredible officers helped shape me and teach me to be a better officer and ultimately gave me the experience I needed to get into my current career.”
She continued, “I pray for everyone I come into contact with. That is the biggest thing. In law enforcement, we see a lot of awful things. We are forced to be with people in their worst moments, so my faith is something that I have to constantly fall back on to recognize the good in the world.”
Some fun facts about Mcdaniel includes that she is a triplet, but looks nothing like her sisters. Her favorite food is pancakes, and she loves to listen to classical music.
If Mcdaniel could encourage IWU students, this is what she’d say: “Go to chapel. As redundant as it may seem or as annoying it is to wake up early on days that you have no morning classes, just do it. It helps you prioritize. It helps you make sure that even on the days where you don’t feel like praising God, you can still make an effort to open your heart to him and see if he has anything to share with you. Looking back, the biggest thing I wish I had done was stay out that extra minute with friends. Go to that bonfire. Go to that event your resident hall is doing. Do all of these activities and fun things because soon, you won’t have those opportunities. It stinks when you graduate and have to leave all the people you’ve known for the past few years. So don’t take a single second for granted, because that one moment you take for granted will be the one moment you wish you had back.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.