Thank you for congratulating me on my newest accomplishment of becoming Dr. Colleen M. Smith! I would not be the person I am today without these two special people who have impacted me greatly: Karan & Malkia. Please take a moment to read more about them and donate in lieu of congratulatory sentiments.

Karan Frey

Karan, myself, and Kristy one evening in Florida

Karan special friend of mine when living in Melbourne, FL. Though I met her just a couple of years before her struggle with Cystic Fibrosis ended, we became quick close friends.

Kristy, a childhood friend of my husband introduced me to Karan, and told me “You’re going to love her. She loves cats AND wine!” And Kristy was right. Karan was a genuine friend that always had the best advice, a loving pet mom that made fun of my naming capabilities, and a BOSS lady with a strong sense of self that I looked up to.

I know she’s crossed over that rainbow bridge and is giving all the kitties loves, pets, and treats. From time to time, I can tell when Karan is hanging out with our kitty, Josie, and playing with her because she gets the kitty zoomies! I can hear her just giggling, and say, “That’s amazing.”

Karan left this world on March 7th, 2021. I defended my dissertation on March 7th, 2023 in her honor.

Please join me in donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Karan’s name.

Malkia Williams

Malkia was a special co-worker, colleague, and friend. I hired Malkia as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Central Florida for the Academic Advancement Programs office. I chose her because of her calming presence and empathy.

Me and Malkia in my office in Florida

Malkia had a professional and “can do” attitude and wanted to make a difference in the world. She was pursuing a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, and she also helped me with e-learning projects, social media, and supervising the peer mentors in AAP. She was the one that took over my position and responsibilities when I left for maternity leave in February 2020. I knew she could handle it with love, empathy, calmness, and grace as I started my family.

Her birthday is March 5th, and I defended my dissertation on March 7th thanking her for her profound impact on my life. Unexpectedly, Malkia left this world on March 21, 2021.

Please join me in donating to the “Be the Evidence” Scholarship at Oakwood University in her name.

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