We are proud to share the incredible journey of one of our SEMO students, Gianna Deidrick. Not only did Gianna successfully complete her first semester at Southeast with academic honors, she did it while undergoing cancer treatment. There is no stopping our Redhawks!

Gianna graduated high school looking forward to her last summer before going off to college. She was eager, but a little anxious to be attending SEMO and leaving home for the first time. Gianna had carefully chosen Southeast because of the incredible reputation our education program has. 

After graduation, Gianna found herself sick. At first, she thought it may be allergies or may she had contracted COVID-19. She was ultimately diagnosed with a sinus infection and sent on her way. However, after weeks of not improving, she returned to the doctor who decided to run a scan to see if she had pnuemonia. Following that scan, she and her family heard the devastating news that Gianna had a mass in her chest.

She was then taken to see an oncologist where it was determined that she had stage three lymphoma. Just 14 days before she was scheduled to come to Cape Girardeau and officially become a Redhawk, she was hit with this bombshell. Gianna underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, totaling 30 days of chemo.

While going through these tough treatments, exhausted and feeling sick, Gianna took classes online through SEMO from home. She didn't want to get behind on her college timeline. Gianna shared, "I'm so grateful that I had professors who were willing to work with me." When she needed a break or felt too sick to complete an assignment, she was given deadline extensions. Gianna says that without the support of so many people at SEMO, she wouldn't have made it through her first semester. 

As of January 15, Gianna is cancer-free! She is now a full-time SEMO student and living in the dorms in the Tomorrow's Teachers Learning Community. She is currently an early childhood education major and thriving in her classes.

Even though it was a little scary moving to Cape Girardeau after everything she had endured, she felt right at home from the moment she got to campus. She is making friends, attending classes in-person, and even joined Southeast's Color Guard. Gianna told us that coming to SEMO has been a great experience!

I've received a lot of support since I've been a SEMO student. When I was first diagnosed, my advisor was able to switch all my classes online. I'm here because she understood what I was going through

Gianna Deidrick, SEMO Student