Hannah Newborn, BSW ’18

Hometown: Boerne, TX.

Why social work: I have always had a passion for people and their stories, especially when it comes to those who are not usually given the opportunity to have their voice or story heard. I started out as a psychology major my freshman year in order to pursue this interest. During my second semester, I learned about social work and I instantly knew it was the field I belonged in. Through speaking to a friend who was a social work major, I realized social work would provide me with the opportunity to work directly with vulnerable and marginalized populations, be a source of empathy and support, and give me the privilege of listening to many people’s incredible stories of strength and overcoming.

Favorite experience at UT Austin: Being a part of the community in the social work school has been such a great experience. I have learned so much and really appreciate the support that social work students offer each other.

Most challenging time on the Forty Acres: Being such a big university, it felt difficult to get connected at times, especially coming in as a transfer student. Also, not getting lost on campus when I did venture out from the social work building was a challenge on its own!

Best social work internship moment: I interned at the UT Criminal Defense Clinic. The best moment was when I was able to be a part of getting my client a favorable outcome in his case. It took a lot of work, relationship building with the client, and negotiating with some hard headed prosecutors, but it was all worth it in the end. The client played a vital role in supporting his family, and it was very rewarding to be part of him being able to continue being there for them.

Favorite professor: I had the privilege of being in professor Vicki Packheiser’s last social work with groups class before she retired. I am really thankful for that. She created such a genuinely supportive environment for us to be vulnerable and real. She modeled how to both lead and be a part of a group. She helped our class become close and that carried over into our final field class and made us a stronger group.

Plans for the future: I am passionate about working in the criminal justice system to reduce recidivism and advocate for policy change. I hope to be a part of making a difference in the lives of those who are disproportionately affected by this system. I plan to work in the field for a few years to get more real world experience and then return to school for my master of social work.

Words of wisdom for the incoming class: Take advantage of all the learning opportunities that you can. There are so many great lectures and groups and resources available in the school of social work. Build relationships with students and professors (and anyone else you come in contact with) who is different from you. You will gain so much and become that much better of a social worker for it.

Posted December 7, 2018.