Algeria Wilson, MSW - 2019(expected)
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”- Audre Lorde
Why did you choose MSU?
As a student parent I really needed to obtain my degree at a university that understood my needs. I spent a lot of time during my undergraduate years trying to balance being a single parent and a student with a lack of resources on campus. I knew that I wanted to go on to get my Masters degree somewhere that would not make the journey so difficult. When I saw that MSU had many resources for student parents, such as graduate family housing and childcare grants, I had to apply.
Have you received any awards/scholarships that you are particularly proud of?
What really solidified me choosing MSU’s school of social work over any other program was the Advocacy Scholars Program, which I am particularly very proud to be apart of. The Advocacy Scholars Program provides a very supportive 2-year scholarship stipend, and is focused on providing individual mentorship from professors and professionals who are doing the hard work of changing and influencing policy. Behind the Advocacy Scholars Program, I saw passionate professors who were not just eager about me graduating from their program, but who were truly interested in helping me learn, grow and have the career that I desire after graduation. I also am very proud to be a recipient of the Aldridge Scholarship for having clear career goals, being able to receive this award also has shown me that the faculty at MSU is very supportive. Therefore, choosing MSU’s School of Social Work was easy and I could not be more excited as I begin to enter into the MSW 3 year part-time program with my concentration in Organization and Community Leadership, as I know that I will be one step closer towards working on my passions.
Have you had an internship that has had a strong impact on you?
During my final year at the University of Cincinnati, where I obtained my Bachelors of Social Work degree, I had the pleasure of having my field placement at a public defenders office. I spent time in court, and in jails and truly working on trying to get individuals alternative sentences that would get them out of the system. The internship further solidified my career goals of wanting to influence policy within the criminal justice arena. I had an amazing supervisor who was empathetic, hardworking and most importantly that challenged me daily to think outside of the norm and look at the larger picture.
Have you had experiences outside of the US that have impacted your life and decisions to pursue a degree in social work?
Traveling has always been very important to me because it challenges me, allows me to formulate my own opinions and broadens my worldview. As an undergraduate, I studied abroad in London and Paris. While I went to compare and contrast child welfare policies, what I gained was far more than knowledge, I learned empathy. I spent time in a Muslim town, and our tour guide had many questions about America as I did about London. When I asked him if he had ever visited the states? His response was that he would have loved to, but was very afraid because “Americans aren’t really excited about Muslims,” In that moment I felt we shared a similar feeling and from that point forwards I realized that people everywhere share common suffering that can be resolved.
Do you have any advice for others considering social work?
My best advice for people considering social work over other professions would be to just do it! If your intuition brought you to consider the profession in the first place then it must be for all of the right reasons. Social Work is very broad and it allows you to look at life and create solutions outside of the binary, so you can never go wrong with this profession.