Michelle Levy, Research Associate, KU School of Social Welfare; KU BSW
I met a social worker for the first time when I was 15 years old. That was the day I was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare childhood cancer. That same day, my dad was across the city in a rehabilitation hospital after an accident that had left him paralyzed. We were hundreds of miles from our home in Great Bend and more than a little overwhelmed from all that was happening. The social worker that I met that day helped my family navigate through those challenging times. I am forever grateful for her support and for introducing me to the profession of social work. I am a proud graduate of the KU BSW Program and University of Chicago - School of Social Service Administration. I worked briefly in public health education, aging research, and foster care before I found my niche in writing grants and carrying out research and training projects at KUSSW. Several of these initiatives have focused on educating future social workers including my current position as Director of the Behavioral Health Scholars Program.
My advice for students is to be proud of yourself and the profession that you have chosen. For many of us, our life experiences provided an ability to feel the pain of others and the desire to fight injustices in the world. At times, we seem to fall victim to the idea that as social workers, we are misunderstood and undervalued. Yet our unique skill-set and knowledge base allows us to work in so many ways to support and empower individuals, families, organizations, systems, communities, and society. It is an awesome opportunity and obligation. I know it may sound trite (and some days it will not feel this way) but you will change lives and make our world a better place. Always be proud to be a social worker!