MSW Profile: Victoria Jordan, the Spirit of Social Work

By Connor Watkins
July 12, 2018
Victoria J
Victoria came a long way, both educationally and geographically, to the Garland School of Social Work (GSSW), where she received her MSW in May. Victoria is from Atlanta, GA and studied theology as an undergraduate at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK.

Victoria was named the 2018 MSW Spirit of Social Work award winner, and her experience at the GSSW was greatly shaped by her internship opportunities.

During her first year, Victoria interned with Tri-Cities Ministries, a network of interdenominational churches united to care for local communities around Bellmead, Lacy Lakeview, and Elm Mott, TX. Victoria was charged with launching a case management program, including training volunteers and beginning to see clients, in order to better meet the long-term needs of those within the Tri-Cities communities.

Not only was the case management journey impactful on Victoria, but also the relationship she built with Tri-Cities director and Victoria’s field instructor, Megan Byrd (MSW ‘13).

“She really poured into me that whole year and helped me grow,” Victoria said. “She helped me mature, believed in me, and pushed me to be a better social worker.”

In hindsight, Victoria found Byrd was key in helping her flourish and become the social worker she hoped to be.

“Having someone in your life who sees the potential in you and draws that out is something really special and unique. [Her support] was just a gift to me,” Victoria said.

This past year, Victoria interned at Unbound, an organization seeking to combat human trafficking through prevention, professional training, and survivor advocacy.

Victoria was excited to work with Unbound, saying, “I always wanted to do human trafficking work. That is why I wanted to go into social work.”

At Unbound, Victoria’s role focused on prevention work, particularly in schools. She helped coordinate and facilitate middle school prevention groups where they discussed human trafficking, healthy relationships, human worth, self-esteem, vulnerability, social media safety, and other topics intersecting with trafficking. She also helped coordinate outreach events and worked with Unbound’s professional training team.

“The [ethical principle] which really stands out to me is social justice … Advocating for the vulnerable, the oppressed, the marginalized, coming alongside the ‘other’ and standing up for them in our communities, our families––that is something I love about social work,” Victoria said. “It is really what I aspire to do with my life.”


Victoria quickly saw the fruit of her work with Unbound.

“We identified human trafficking victims through these groups and people who were being targeted by either traffickers or pedophiles who are grooming them,” Victoria said. “[It] was interesting to see the proactive work we were able to do in schools. [Our work was] not just protecting kids from trafficking, it was creating a safe space where kids can talk about these things happening in their homes or in their lives.”

Though Victoria’s internships and relationship with Megan Byrd were instrumental in her growth as a social worker, she also spoke at length about GSSW professors who helped her along the way.

Working with her often throughout her MSW program, Dr. Gaynor Yancey stood out to Victoria.

“Dr. Yancey is an inspirational Christian woman who has so much longevity in this career,” Victoria said. “She makes so much impact with everything she touches.”

Victoria went on to say, “One of the most profound things I learned from her is to recognize the strengths in your peers, your community, your clients, and those who surround you, and to call out those strengths in people.” Victoria has held onto this lesson and applied it in her work.

Victoria also wanted to thank Dr. Melody Zuniga for the impact she made on Victoria in her very first class at the GSSW.

“She calls out a standard of excellence in her students and the people who [work] under her,” Victoria said. “She created this expectation for this program that made me want to push myself to learn, to be a better version of myself. She took a lot of time to invest in her class and invest in us as professionals, and she continues to do that.”

When asked about the “spirit” of social work, Victoria cited the National Association of Social Workers’ six ethical principles.

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“The [ethical principle] which really stands out to me is social justice … Advocating for the vulnerable, the oppressed, the marginalized, coming alongside the ‘other’ and standing up for them in our communities, our families––that is something I love about social work,” Victoria said. “It is really what I aspire to do with my life.”

The GSSW puts a strong emphasis on advocating and fighting for social justice; Victoria has embraced this cause as a calling for herself, which is what she believes encapsulates the “Spirit” of social work in her.

In addition, Victoria finds great joy in the ways social work allows her to make an impact in the lives of individuals. Even helping just one person is worth it for Victoria. She added, "it is the best part of social work."

“It is amazing what the simple act of encouraging someone can do for their life. I see social work as coming alongside someone and walking on a journey with them, and helping them create this preferred future of their life,” Victoria said.

Overall, Victoria was greatly shaped by her time at the GSSW and is thankful for the role the school, and those she worked with in the program, played in her life.

“Getting the opportunity to see dreams God put in my heart realized through this program and through the opportunities it has afforded me has been really amazing,” she noted.

Upon graduation, Victoria accepted a position as a residential advocate with Selah Freedom, an anti-human trafficking non-profit in the Tampa area. She serves survivors of sex trafficking through prevention, residential, outreach, and awareness programs.
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