Kristen Prock, PhD - 2019(expected)
Why did you choose social work?
As a young person, I knew that I wanted to go to college, and get a degree. I wasn’t entirely sure on the content area, by I understood the value of an education. I quickly found that I liked the social sciences, and enjoyed helping others. Upon completing my Bachelor’s degree in psychology, my first professional job was at a residential facility for children and adolescents with behavioral needs. Providing care for these young people was one of the toughest and most rewarding jobs that I have ever had. More importantly, it was in this job that I discovered the importance of social work, and was encouraged to obtain my MSW.
When I decided to get my PhD in social work, I spent the better part of a year researching and visiting universities. It was important to me that I got the best possible education, was supported academically and financially, but also that the school was a good fit personally. After my visit, I selected MSU despite other competitive offers because it was evident that social work faculty were invested in my education and development as a future scholar. I wanted to be a part of the learning community at MSU because it is collaborative and open, two components that I believe are essential to social work education.
What is your dream job upon graduation with a degree in Social Work?
Prior to starting my PhD at MSU, if you would have asked me what my “dream job” was, I would have answered teaching at a college or university. As long as I can remember, I always wanted to teach. I believed that I could have the greatest impact on the future of the field of social work by using my skills and passion to better prepare the future generation of social workers as an educator. However, in my first year of the program, I had the opportunity to participate in faculty research projects both within and outside of the school of social work. These opportunities have significantly altered my view of how I can impact the field, and changed my intended career trajectory. Upon graduation from MSU, my dream job would be to secure employment at an institution that values the important balance between teaching and research. I believe that as an educator in higher education, teaching should influence research, and vice versa; one cannot improve without the other.
Have you received any awards/scholarships that you’re particularly proud of?
In May 2015, I received a competitive summer research fellowship from the College of Social Sciences at MSU. This funding award of $5000, which is renewable for a second summer, gave me the opportunity to design and conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. This award afforded me the opportunity to begin exploratory research in the area of service provision for homeless youth who identify as LGBT, an area that I am very passionate about.
Do you have a favorite quote about social work or something else?
“Well-behaved women seldom make history” –Laurel Thatcher Ulrich