Markiesha Johnson, MSW 2019

Why did you choose social work? MSU?
Markiesha Johnson
Someone once told me that if you choose a career that you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. These are my sentiments of becoming a social worker. I take pride in helping those in need, mainly the most vulnerable populations such as children, elderly, disabled, and the mentally ill.

I obtained my B.A. Degree in Criminal Justice at MSU in 2009. A couple years later, I began my career as a foster care specialist for The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In 2014, I became a mother, which motivated me to further my education and pursue my Master's in Social Work.

I am a current student in the weekend MSW program, which is a part-time hybrid blended MSW program. This program is flexible for working professionals with families. Out of all the MSW programs that I considered, what drew me to MSU's MSW program was their mission to promote positive change and social justice in diverse communities, organizations, groups, families, and individuals. Working in a community with under-represented populations, motivates me to step up and be the change and voice that they need.

Have you received any awards/scholarships that you are particularly proud of?
I am the proud recipient of the 2017/2018 Future Leaders Scholarship as well as the recipient of the 2017/2018 UAW Cal Rapson Scholarship. I was cordially invited and participated in MSU's 15th Annual Scholarship Luncheon, honoring 2017 scholarship recipients.

Have there been any particular events or situations that have had a strong impact on you in your career?
I am currently employed full-time with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as a Foster Care Specialist in Wayne County. I am employed in the largest county in the State of Michigan with a disproportionate number of individuals and families who are vulnerable, and living in poverty.

Not long ago, I serviced a mother whose son was removed from her care due to abuse and neglect. When I became her case manager, she explained to me how the previous case manger made her feel worthless. She was a low-functioning individual with an IQ of 69 but she maintained the same job for about 6+ years. I built her confidence by acknowledging her strengths and providing her motivation and encouragement.

Throughout the duration of her being on my caseload, she successfully completed all the services that were offered to her. She obtained her GED, enrolled in culinary arts school, and completed her externship, eventually graduating. The mother was then successfully reunified with her son and is doing great. This is what I wake up every morning grateful to do: impact the lives of the hopeless and vulnerable by motivating and believing in them.

Do you have any advice for others considering social work?
My advice to those considering social work is to go for it! It takes a special type of person to work in this field. It takes strong commitment, dedication, passion, and the drive to help the most vulnerable populations. Social work is a very broad field, and what is great about it, is you can switch it up without switching careers. You can work in various settings, including but not limited to: school, hospital, mental health, child welfare, corrections, etc. There is always room for upward mobility in the Social Work field without being complacent.