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Student Interviews - Jennifer Evans
How did you become interested in the Howard University School of Social Work?
My background is in Psychology. I have a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and minor in Family Studies. I received my Bachelors at Towson University and I graduated with honors in 2014. In 2014, I was accepted into a Psy D program at the American School of Professional Psychology and was interested in pursuing a career as a Clinical Psychologist. After one year in the program, I realized that I was more interested in social action, advocacy and being a social agent of change. In addition, I was very interested in international social welfare public health issues and minority women issues which was very different from what I was learning in my Psy D program. I researched more about my career aspirations which lead me to the social work profession. After talking to other social workers in the social work field, I was confident that social work was a better career path for my interests. Therefore, after one year in the Psy D program, I decided to quit it and immediately applied to HUSSW program. I was interested in HUSSW program because I liked its Black Perspective principles and emphasis on cultural competency and African/African American issues.
I feel very fortunate and blessed to have been accepted into a great program! I have no regrets on my decision to change to social work. I love it and now I can finally change and impact the world.
Some things I did/achievements during my time in HUSSW (I am not sure how much you can add but here are some other notable things I have done or achieved):
- Received 5,000 dollar scholarship for Rising First Year HUSSW student.
- Secretary of SGA board during the 2016- 2017 (spring)
- Vice President of Social Work National Honors Society
- Asked to speak on interdisciplinary professional education Panel for tackling HIV (Howard University)
- I have a 4.0
- International Service Learning Program 2017
What was your most memorable experience?
My most memorable memory was being accepted in HUSSW International Service Learning Program in 2017 and going to Cape Town, South Africa. It was truly a life changing experience and the experience significantly made me grow as a person. I met a lot of amazing people that I now call friends that I still keep in contact with till this day. In addition, I learned about the life of a brave and courageous extraordinary man, Nelson Mandela who in my opinion exemplifies what every social worker and person fighting for justice should strive to be.
While in South Africa, I had the opportunity to run a group with another HUSSW at a non-government organization called Community Women in Action. One thing I take away from my time at this agency is a young woman disclosed that she was a counselor that helped other women with HIV but she was also diagnosed with the virus. She said that she struggled with her diagnosis and her ability to be a effective counselor She realized she had to heal within herself first before she could heal other people and that is something I hold dear and take away from that experience because it made me reflect on the importance of self care and things I also have to heal within myself before I can help someone else.
What are your plans for the future/how do you plan to use your knowledge gained at HUSSW?
I was invited to Peace Corps, Malawi and will be working in the Public Health Sector as a Health Volunteer Extension. I will be teaching; creating and coordinating programs and helping Malawian women, men, and children who are diagnosed with HIV/Aids and Malaria. After my term, I will come back to America and study for my clinical license/supervision. I desire to pursue a career as a international social worker. I am also really interested in other public health disparities, trauma and body image issues in minority women.
I plan to use my HUSSW Black perspective as my guiding social work values to consider in my social work practice. The Black perspective principles have helped me to become more culturally aware of the unique experiences of other people. In addition, the principles have also pushed me to be more courageous in standing up for people who are often neglected by society and who cannot stand up for themselves. We as social workers have to be their voice and shouldn't be afraid to fight for what is right.