Felicia Mitchell is a KU School of Social Welfare doctoral student with a clear path and ambition for social work that has grown throughout her education and work experience. As a freshman at KU, Felicia joined the First Nations Student Association as a way to get involved and meet new people. At the time she didn’t realize that by just wanting to meet new people, she would learn so much about herself in the process. As she explained her interests and background to others in the group, one person spoke up and said, “you sound like a social worker.” At the time, Felicia didn’t really know what that meant or what social workers really do, so she decided to do a little research. After looking into the profession and major, she realized a social work degree fit with her personal values and her need to give back to the community. Her newfound friend was exactly right. Social work was the perfect major for her. By finding a major that she was passionate about, it sparked her interest in education in general. She wanted to further her knowledge of social work, so she decided to go on and obtain her master’s of social work as well.
After attaining her master’s of social work, Felicia found herself working with minority populations experiencing health disparities. Her specific work with tribal communities and diabetes prevention and self-management programs led her to her true passion and decision to go back to school. Most of her work in the field was individually based programing and services, which was extremely effective for the individual; however, she started to see the issue on a more macro level, as a community or societal issue. She started to wonder if there was a way to help on a larger scale, such as providing programs that support the community as a whole and aid in preventing the progression and spread of diabetes within Native communities. This change in thinking made her realize she wanted to go back to school to continue to research these issues and help educate future social workers.