From: San Antonio, Texas

Major: Social Work and Human Development and Family Sciences

Why social work: I was originally a pre-physician assistant track and I’d decided that I wanted to minor in social work, so I took professor Padilla’s “Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare” class. It was the first class that opened up my eyes to the social work field and everything it stands for. It was during this class that I decided to declare social work as my second major.

When did you realize social work was the field for you: I was still unsure if I wanted to take the pre-physician assistant route or eventually pursue graduate program – this was a big decision. It wasn’t until I took “Social Work Practice in Organizations and Communities” with professor Rhodes that I became sure that social work was what I wanted to do. It helped me see the bigger picture of society and made me fall in love with macro/mezzo work.

How has your classroom experience been at the Steve Hicks School: The Steve Hicks School has a completely different environment than any other school on campus. It’s safe, and open. I gained a new family when I decided to double major. I haven’t only learned from my professors, but my peers as well, and this is because every professor I’ve had has created such a close-knit community in the classroom we all get to feed off of one another’s experiences, and everyone feels comfortable being their most authentic self.

A social work professor who has made the most impact on you: Professor Rhodes is a big reason why I chose to become a social worker. I loved her from the moment I met her in our generalist practice class. She is real, direct, knowledgeable, insightful, experienced and everything in between. When I think of the type of social worker I want to be when I grow up, I think of professor Rhodes. She’s fierce and knows how to get things done. Her passion is contagious and has made me excited for what lies ahead.

Extracurricular activities: I’ve volunteered at Dell Children’s Hospital and I’m currently volunteering at St. David’s Hospital. While at Dell Children’s Hospital I volunteered in the Child Life Department. In this department, my job was to help children cope with and understand what was going on in the hospital. I played with children, brought them developmentally appropriate toys they could play with. I was someone they had around when their parents weren’t able to be.

At St. David’s I volunteer in the emergency department, assisting nurses, whether that be filing patient information or discharging patients. I also tend to the patients and their needs, and help prepare rooms for individuals.

I’m in a campus spirit group called Texas Pearls. This is a service-based group, and we do community service for different organizations throughout the semester. This year our philanthropy is Helping Hand Home for Children, and the year before that we were serving the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. I’m the fundraising director of the organization, so I’m responsible for creating opportunities for our organization and our community to give back to our philanthropy.

What’s next after graduation? I hope to get my master’s of social work, preferably here at UT Austin. While in graduate school I intend on working as full-time social worker here in Austin. After that I’ll hopefully work as a social worker in a healthcare related field, or even in a school for a while. I hope to one day become a superintendent of a school district or a member of the board of trustees. I want to change policies in underprivileged districts and give at-risk students the upper hand. I’m also interested in working in a healthcare setting whether that be at a micro/macro level.

Advice for prospective BSW students: My advice to prospective students is to take advantage of the service learning that is required. Volunteer in an area you are interested in and then volunteer somewhere you wouldn’t typically go for. Take advantage of all the hands-on experience the social work school has to offer.