Being raised as a “military kid,” BSW Outstanding Student Award Winner Asianna Brown knew she always wanted to foster such meaningful connections as the ones she was fortunate enough to experience with social workers growing up.
“I reflected on a lot of my encounters with social workers as a military kid. I had my parents deployed at the same time, at points in my life. Sometimes my mom would be deployed and my dad would be in a different state so I had to deal with that,” Asianna explained. “I had a social worker who [would say], ‘Hey, I'm here to help,’ and it was a big relief to have somebody in my corner. I want to do that for other military dependents.”
Asianna remembers one person in particular truly inspiring the work she wants to pursue with military children: one of her friends who also had parents serving at the same time as her own.
Asianna is a fierce advocate for racial and social justice at Baylor and beyond. She embodies all the values of the social work profession, and it is clear to see how passionate she is about the work she does.
“One of my friend’s biological parents is in recovery from a substance use disorder, so it was really hard for her. She was adopted, but then the military came into play so it has been really complicated for her,” Asianna explained.
Asianna noticed the difference in recovery between her friend’s experience lacking a social worker, and her own with one. Examples such as her friend deepened Asianna’s passion for social work and social welfare, and her desire to work with children specifically.
“I had a lot of friends who were also military kids. They had a rough time as well, but they didn't always have a social worker on hand for them,” she said. “If there was something I could do on my end to provide resources to somebody who has so many things going against them, it would be very beneficial for their own development as an adolescent.”
Asianna has continued her work with younger-age populations as she served this semester as a Communities & Schools Intern at University High School in Waco. Although it is not quite her ultimate goal of working alongside military children, Asianna said this experience has helped her solidify the age population she knows she is meant to support.
Additionally, Asianna mentioned that her “save the world mentality” definitely motivates her when she works with her clients at the high school as she attempts to assist and inspire students to do well academically, and encourage them to utilize their available resources.
Regarding both military children, like her friend who endured the trial of their parent’s substance abuse, as well as the students that she counsels and provides help to at University High School, Asianna revealed that she wholeheartedly believes these children are “innately good,” despite their struggles and the adversities they face.
“It is society around us that changes how we behave. We [as social workers] need to foster the good intentionality of our youth in order for it to manifest,” she said. “When I finally had someone who was good to me [as a military kid], somebody who was actually trying to bring that goodness back out of me—I realized I'm not a horrible person. It's just the situation I was placed in made it seem like everything was against me.”
In their nomination of Asianna for this award, one colleague said that Asianna “is a fierce advocate for racial and social justice at Baylor and beyond. She embodies all the values of the social work profession, and it is clear to see how passionate she is about the work she does. Asianna succeeds at whatever she puts her mind to and has done and will do great things.”
Congratulations, Asianna…our 2021 BSW Outstanding Student! #sicem