The Garland School of Social Work proudly salutes the MSW Community Practice Intern of the Year: Katherine Reynolds.
Katherine is from St. Louis, Missouri, and began classes at Baylor University in 2015. Though she did not initially choose Baylor for social work, through the recommendation of friends, she said she quickly fell in love with the GSSW.
“I changed my major to social work after participating in the Poverty Simulation hosted by Mission Waco,” Katherine said. “I have always felt a passion for service, and, after discovering social work, found a way to turn this passion into a career.”
Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak says, “Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening…Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling I hear.” Palmer’s words speak to Katherine as she believes she has heard a calling toward social work and has decided to listen!
This year, Katherine interned at Grassroots Community Development. During her first semester, she worked to research, write and develop a youth leadership development program called “Grassroots Teen Leadership” (GTL). In her second semester, she piloted this program with three different groups of high school students at two different schools around the Waco area. She said ultimately, the goal of the GTL program was to provide practical leadership skills to students that they would then put to use by creating a community action plan of their choosing.
“The students developed action plans everywhere from a mental health advocacy plan for their school to community events in the park to school beautification,” Katherine said. “It was incredible to see!”
Katherine’s colleagues all agreed she deserved recognition as Intern of the Year.
“From the first day of her internship, Katherine brought good energy and a go-getter attitude to our work environment. Her initiative and strong work ethic has especially shown through in her development and implementation of the teen leadership program,” one said. “Through research and collaboration with professionals from various disciplines, she transformed our adult leadership training into a curriculum that is age-appropriate and engaging for teens. She then eagerly piloted the leadership program at two schools. She skillfully facilitated these groups and invited the students to have an active role in the evaluation of the program. No matter the challenges that have come Katherine’s way, she has responded with an even-keeled poise and a desire to meet the needs of our partners.”
Another colleague added, “Katherine’s work with community members demonstrated her understanding of the importance of human relationships and the advancement of social justice. Her work with teens revealed the way in which she already viewed these young people—as leaders—and she has sought to strengthen their capacity.”
After graduation, Katherine will stay in Waco, and looks forward to finding a job where she can “put her community social work skills to good use.”