It Really is a Small World By: Donna Zelenika

About twenty years ago, my parents decided to come to America in order to avoid war. They were living in the beautiful city of Zadar, Croatia in 1997. My mom was seven and a half months pregnant with me when they arrived, and shortly after, I was born in March. During their transition to America, they encountered wonderful people who tried to assist them and make them feel welcome. 

           Someone who made a wonderful impact on our family is Dr. Donna Schiess, a Communication Instructor at WKU. Dr. Schiess was incredibly welcoming and generous to my family. She even helped to throw my mom a baby shower, because my parents weren’t allowed to travel with a lot of stuff. Dr. Schiess really went out of her way to make sure my parents had everything they needed for a fresh start in a new country and with a baby on the way. 

Donna Zelenika & Dr. Donna Schiess

            Dr. Donna Schiessextraordinary kindness was not forgotten by my parents.  They are extremely grateful for her friendship; so grateful, in fact, that they decided to show their appreciation by naming me Donna after her first name. As fate would have it, I took Dr. Schiess’ COMM 240: Critical Listening online course this spring semester, unaware of the fact that she is the woman I am named after. One day, Dr. Schiess checked her roster, and thought my name was familiar. Dr. Donna decided to reach out to me, and ask if I was related to Mr. and Mrs. Zelenika. Sure enough, we each realized who the other was, and decided to meet each other again after twenty years. 


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