Shai Wilkins: A Standout Community Leader

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LaQuitta “Shai” Wilkins is a nurse, community leader, and heart health advocate on a mission. From crisscrossing the country as a travel nurse to being crowned Miss Black Alabama 2016, Shai’s story is one of passion, ambition, and selfless devotion to her local community.

From a young age, Shai knew she was interested in a career in healthcare. Visiting her mother’s workplace and seeing her as a home health aid inspired Shai to explore the field of healthcare.

Born in Aliceville, Alabama, and later moving to Huntsville, Shai was a top student throughout high school. Upon her graduation, Shai received both academic and athletic scholarships to Mississippi State University. Later, she transferred to the University of Belmont, where she was awarded with the Academic All-Conference Award in both fall 2009 and Spring 2011, graduating in 2012 with a BS in Nursing.

Wilkins has enjoyed great success as a traveling Pediatric Intensive Care Registered Nurse.

“I love traveling and meeting new people,” said Wilkins. “Working in such diverse institutions across the nation has positively impacted both my clinical skills and overall flexibility as a nurse. It’s a privilege to blend my passion for new experiences with my career.”

How Shai Makes a Difference

Shai dedicates herself to the betterment of her community by volunteering her time at local hospitals, clinics, heart health events, and the American Heart Association fundraiser. Recently, the city of Aliceville honored Wilkins with the key to the city to commemorate her years of service. As a standout leader in her community, it’s no surprise that Shai went on to represent her home state of Alabama in the Miss Black USA Pageant.

“I’ve made some great connections being involved in the Miss Black Alabama USA Pageant System,” Wilkins revealed. “I became more aware of myself, the power I have to help others and to also better myself.”

The pageant was an opportunity for Wilkins to spread awareness about her platform “The Heart of the Matter”, referencing her dedication to spreading information about heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. “I know heart disease is a leading cause of death among African American women and I wanted to focus more on that topic. Your heart matters and you should protect anything that flows through it!”

There is no slowing down this devoted pillar of strength in the Huntsville community. The pageant queen has even published a coloring book, Color Me Healthy and Active, with illustrations of healthy food to encourage young people to eat healthy. As a result of her hard work, Shai was awarded with the 2017 Red Dress Award from Woman’s Day Magazine and was the recipient of The President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2016.

Wilkins is already working on her next project, which aims to support teen girls in the community.

“My next big goal is to establish a non-profit organization focused on mentoring adolescent females. In fact, I have recently begun some of the foundational work.. Stay tuned!”

By sharing her story of overcoming obstacles, Wilkins hopes to impact and inspire others.

“I want people to look at my life and the things I’ve overcome to motivate them. Despite where you came from or what you’ve been through, you can and will make it!”