The Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) proudly salutes Laken Shelton, the 2020 BSW Intern of the Year. Laken is a senior from Henderson, Texas.
Laken never thought she would pursue a career in social work. But, having grown up with social workers in her life through the foster care system, she looked into it at her mother’s suggestion as classes began at Baylor. Laken declared social work as her major that day and has never looked back.
“I do feel [now] that social work is my calling,” Laken said. “I am passionate about working and walking alongside children and families involved in the child welfare system.”
Abu Kamara excels both inside and outside the classroom and has known from his first semester of college that social work was right for him. Abu is an athlete, a humble academic and an aspiring social work rock star!
According to his classmates, Abu was the only male in his #BU20 cohort, and while this might be difficult for some, he has remained a "steadfast and humble learner throughout the years."
These three characteristics have been used to describe senior Colorado Springs native and 2020 Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) BSW Outstanding Student recipient Megan (Meg) Peck.
Though she didn’t know what social work was at the beginning of her freshman year, this posture of open-mindedness is perhaps what led Peck to listen to the many voices repeatedly telling her it would be a good fit.
“I always wanted to be a counselor, but I appreciate how the profession of social work puts an emphasis on social justice and cultural humility,” she said.
Fast forward three and a half years at the GSSW and Peck has experienced community, growth and encouragement all while discovering her passions and using her voice to bring about positive change.
Coming to Baylor from Freeport, Texas, Haleigh Culverhouse grew up with parents who greatly value social justice and operate a nonprofit organization which supports women at risk for or recovering from human trafficking. Their support, as well as a focus on mental health and self-care within her family, helped open her eyes to a career in social work.
When asked how she felt about receiving the Spirit of Social Work Award, Haleigh said she was “surprised” and “honored.” She also had a sizeable list of people she owed thanks to throughout her social work journey.
Haleigh interned at Waco Center for Youth this past spring, where she cared for adolescents with varying mental health diagnoses. She worked under the supervision of a therapist and met individually with girls at the center to talk them through their thoughts and feelings before they were to meet with other staff members. She also planned and lead group therapy sessions
“You really have to find what you’re passionate about, and people who are passionate about the same things.” That’s exactly what Jenna did when, after a few meetings with Baylor’s career services, she found her calling to social work. Since discovering that calling, Jenna has realized her interest in the macro aspect of social work. Dr. Holly Oxhandler, Garland School of Social Work’s associate dean of research, opened up that door for her and was especially helpful in aiding Jenna through her journey. Within the macro aspect, Jenna’s focus has been at the intersection of social and economic issues.
Often, being a transfer student at a new university can be a culture shock and come with its share of difficulties adjusting; however, for senior BSW student Jeremiah Moen, his background as a transfer student has helped him continue to dive into his passions and grow as a future social worker.
Jeremiah started his college education at San Jacinto College in southeast Houston. He was taking general courses at the time and had not decided on a specific career path. After a year and a half, Jeremiah’s father suggested that he take a semester to decide what he wanted to major in. He told Jeremiah to take a class in each of the major subjects he was interested in to help decide. Jeremiah took courses in elementary education, engineering, calculus, and a counseling class.
With parents who own a nonprofit agency that supports women who are at risk for or recovering from human trafficking, it is no surprise senior BSW student Haleigh Culverhouse came to Baylor to study Social Work. Growing up, she knew she wanted to help people like her parents but was not sure what she wanted to study. Eventually, while on a mission trip to India, she found her answer–– or rather, it found to her.
Growing up, BSW student Aimee Bennett was particularly concerned with issues of homelessness, poverty, and child abuse. Aimee came to Baylor as a speech pathology major, with her parents' encouragement, but eventually found that she wanted to pursue a career where she would develop more personal relationships.
Hannah Crawford, pictured below at left, presented her research on voluntary kinship during URSA Scholars week at Baylor. Her topic was one of the last projects Diana Garland worked on with help from Becky Scott.