The Institute for Family Violence Studies (IFVS) at the College of Social Work benefits from the tremendous talent and energy of student researchers who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of children and families. “The Institute could not operate without these rockstars. Each one made a significant contribution to building the IFVS,” said Karen Oehme, IFVS Director. In return, the Institute launches these graduates into a lifetime of meaningful work.
Students take many different paths when they graduate, and the experience is often very personal and individualized. For two talented FSU College of Social Work alumni, their journeys into careers in social work began with their field placements.
A poet and a writer since adolescence, Dr. Nick Mazza was working in the maintenance department of a hospital in New Jersey putting himself through college when he noticed an article in Time magazine on poetry therapy. His curiosity piqued, he wrote to one of the national leaders in poetry therapy, attended a national conference in Brooklyn and found himself hooked. He approached the medical director of the hospital about reading poetry to patients, and the director introduced him to the hospital’s social services department. The rest is history.
Kotrish Wright, an MSW student, made the most of her time at the College of Social Work when she participated with many other social work students in the 2016 National Association of Social Worker’s LEAD (Legislative, Education, & Advocacy Day) at the Florida Capitol, advocating for social work. While networking at the event, she received information about a unique fellowship opportunity through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Kotrish researched the CSWE Minority Fellowship further and decided to contact a representative.
The struggle for transgender equality has recently been illustrated by the high-profile case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teenager in Virginia. Grimm, who was assigned female at birth but has legally and medically transitioned to male, challenged a school board policy that was enacted to prevent him from using the boys’ bathroom.
Two years ago, Darcy Maher (MSW ’15) inspired student Megan Armison to become involved in FSU’s Dance Marathon. The event raises funds each year for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Darcy’s excitement and passion encouraged Megan to join in 2016 as a dancer. By the end of her first event, she began planning her involvement in next year’s event. With Darcy’s support, Megan was designated the College of Social Work delegate for the 2017 FSU Dance Marathon.
Some people want to see change in their environments, and others choose to actively make that change a reality. These extraordinary individuals, like Catherine ‘Cat’ Keen, believe that change cannot be achieved unless executed in a ‘structured, strategic way’ and go to great lengths to exemplify the change they wish to see within their communities.