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Student Bobby Porter Inspired by His Own Experiences to Give Back

by South University
May 21, 2015 Meet South University, Savannah student Bobby Porter.
What does South University mean to me?

Like many South University students, Bobby Porter feels strongly about giving back to his community and helping the individuals within it. In fact, he was drawn to studying psychology through his own experience of raising a son diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Currently in his third year of the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program at South University, Savannah, Bobby has plans to pursue a master’s degree and then a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, so that he can eventually achieve his goal of helping children who have multiple disabilities. Somehow, between classes, his own family time, and everything else that makes up a full schedule, he’s already started working on a book intended to help families with children that simultaneously have Asperger's Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder—a book he hopes will “give parents a better understanding on what all we have gone through over the past 16 years and let them know they are not alone in this big world.”

With over 26 years of prior experience as an EMT, First Responder, and Lieutenant for a Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department, Bobby has already made a tremendous impact on the lives of many, and now he’s hoping his experience of keeping people calm in traumatic and trying circumstances will also be applicable in his future psychology career. More recently, he’s been volunteering with the American Red Cross, this time focusing on providing emotional rather than physical.

“It’s all about giving back,” he says, recalling his family member’s pasts as firefighters, paramedics, and doctors. “That’s how I was taught. For years, my dad, my granddad, my whole family has been devoted to volunteer work.”

Bobby is also working on an initiative to start educational programs on topics like healthy eating, teen peer pressure, and other important topics—something he decided to do after calling local organizations and police departments looking for a DARE group or something similar and coming up empty handed.

“I was in one of those programs growing up, and it worked really well for me. I ended up teaching that same program for years, and I want to continue that tradition,” he explains. He’s also built up his own educational website at as a resource for parents and other psychology students.

Education is another cause he feels strongly about and something he sees as a powerful tool for achieving your goals. At one point, Bobby’s wife suffered an injury that left her unable to work, leaving their family in tough times. “I knew I had to take control and do something. I had to find a job and a career that could get me out of the situation I was in. The only way I could do that was to get more education under my belt,” he explains. For Bobby, this decision has changed his life, helping him to discover his passion for psychology and leading him to inspire his own college-age daughter to pursue a degree at South University as well.

He says, “What you achieve and what you learn at South University, you’ll carry it with you the rest of your life.”

For more from Bobby, read his essay “What does South University mean to me?”.

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