I grew up in Houston, Texas, in the most diverse county in America. Growing up, I was most fascinated by my Social Studies classes, especially when we discussed the sections on human and civil rights movements. For college, I attended Baylor University, where I received my Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and was pre-med. The sciences was not a fulfilling track for me, and I quickly found out that I was meant to do something different. Shortly after working at MD Anderson Cancer Center as a nutritionist, I switched tracks and went back to Baylor to attend graduate school, where I received a Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Social Work (MSW). My first MSW internship was working with homeless and unaccompanied youth in the Waco Independent School District. I primarily worked with high school students, many of whom had been kicked out of the house and were living in foster care or in group homes.
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least, shaking us to the very core, evoking mixed emotions from deep within namely: sorrow, grief, anger, frustration, fear, worry, depression, anxiety, confusion, tranquility, calmness, empathy, love, and gratitude. Everyday activities have come to a standstill as we are forced to stay at home; in a flash, life has turned upside down with death and destruction of people’s livelihood across a large number of nations. Suddenly, we are faced with a stressor called uncertainty, the fear of the unknown not just to us as individuals, but to us as citizens of this world. This monumental problem of COVID-19 has forced us into a crisis-mode, with great devastation caused by something only visible under the microscope; coming to us like a thief in the night confronting our very existence.
Tia Khachitphet, MSW ’15, is making a difference with her passion for helping youth when they are most vulnerable. She grew up in a mental health conscious household, where her mother worked as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and her sister is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Tia’s interest in mental health was sparked when she learned her cousin, who had seemed to be on a path for success, had gotten into legal trouble. She became curious about the influences someone encounters, which lead them to make the choices of committing a crime. Tia learned how someone’s life can be drastically affected by an adverse decision, which motivated her to get involved
“What if you could change the system so the women you worked with [at the Christian Women’s Job Corps] were never in their situations or circumstances in the first place?” Dr. Rob Rogers said, years ago in a meeting with an MSW Capstone student. “What policies could have been created to change the systems affecting them?” This helped to change the direction of that student’s life. This conversation helped plant the macro social work seed in the heart of the Garland School of Social Work’s 2018 Alumna of the Year, Dana Smith, and that seed has only grown and flourished for nearly 15 years!
Baylor alumna Liz Ligawa loves impacting individual lives and communities, everywhere she goes, so pursuing a career in social work was a no-brainer. She recently received her Master of Social Work and a Master of Divinity. She now serves as the Director of Community Engagement at Prosper Waco, an organization that strives to make true social impact in the city of Waco, raising the quality of life for Waco’s marginalized community.
Greg Adam's story began in small-town Missouri, outside St. Louis, the second of four boys. Greg came to Baylor as an undecided major thinking he would do church-related work. During his sophomore year, he was advised to take a career-decision workshop which revealed he should find a career which would “make a difference.” With that thought in mind, Greg set up a meeting with Dr. Preston Dyer to learn about social work, and he realized the more he learned, the more he thought it just fit.
Tim Brown, MSW '03, was recently elected president-elect of the 2017 Board of Directors of the Association of Social Work Boards. He will serve one year as president-elect, two years as president and one year as past president. Tim was also named the 2017 NASW-TX Social Worker of the Year.
Greg Adam's story began in small town Missouri, outside St. Louis, the second of four boys. Greg came to Baylor as an undecided major thinking he would do church-related work. During his sophomore year, he was advised to take a career-decision workshop which revealed he should find a career which would “make a difference.”
With that thought in mind, Greg set up a meeting with Dr. Preston Dyer to learn about social work, and he realized the more he learned, the more he thought it just fit. Greg ended up double-majoring in social work and religion, graduated in 1985, went on to earn his MSW from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and has been “making a difference” ever since.