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Student Spotlight

VAWC Student Spotlight 

Welcome to the Student Spotlight page! Here we highight students enrolled in the Violence Agaisnt Women Certificate Program. Learn about their current field placement, their interest and a bit about their take on the issue of violence against women and children. 


Kennedy Walton

[Graduating May 2020 | Current Field Placement: Visions and Pathways]

 

Areas of Interest: Domestic violence and childhood trauma

 

What made you want to get involved in the field of gender-based and/or interpersonal violence and/or trauma? 

My interest in this field initially stemmed from personal experiences that later turned into a passion to educate myself to become an advocate for others with similar personal experiences.

 

What are some of the things you're currently working on (scholarly, volunteer, and/or professional) within the field that you are proud of? 

I have the honor of being one of the 2019-2020 Verizon Wireless Hopeline Violence Against Women and Children scholarship recipients. Presently, I am interning at a residential facility that provides counseling services to adolescents ages 13-21. The population that we serve has faced various levels of trauma, abandonment, and violence. In my current course load, I am taking a class that focuses on LGBTQ history and best practices for social workers to provide LGBTQ affirming services. I am sure that this course will also allow me to better provide services to an additional underserved population.

 

How can the Certificate Program help in attaining your future goals?

Based on the courses the certificate program requires it has allowed me the opportunity to gain more knowledge on approaches for dealing with violence against women and children as well as the major historical impacts on the policies that will likely be impacting my clients.

 

What would be your ideal job after graduating with your MSW?

My passion is to help eliminate stigmas in communities of color around the concept of mental health and violence. My ideal job upon graduation would allow me to provide counseling services to adolescents of color that have experienced any sexual or childhood trauma.


Sarah Fraser
[Graduating December 2020 | Current Field Placement: My Sister’s Place]

Areas of Interest: LGBTQIA+ youth and adolescents, sexual assault and abuse, child abuse

 

What made you want to get involved in the field of gender-based and/or interpersonal violence and/or trauma?
As a woman, feminist, and member of the LGBTQIA+ community, gender-based and interpersonal violence and trauma are issues that are close to my heart and to the work that I do. Interpersonal violence against women is not often talked about and many of the survivors struggle with guilt and shame from the residual trauma and victim-blaming that can occur. Internalized misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and so on can create difficult webs for youths to extract themselves from. By working with youth to empower them, helping them feel confident advocating for themselves and others, and standing by them as an ally, I hope we can create a future where we are all respected equally.

 

What are some of the things you're currently working on (scholarly, volunteer, and/or professional) within the field that you are proud of?
I currently work for the Homeless Children's Playtime Project in Washington, D.C., a non-profit that offers trauma-informed play spaces for children who are experiencing homelessness in order to give them access to play, which can help them gain resilience and hope for the future. We are working to expand to all of the shelters in the district and to make it mandatory for family shelters to provide children's programming and distinct resources that will advocate and provide for children's unique needs when they are experiencing homelessness.

 

How can the Certificate Program help in attaining your future goals?
The certificate program gives me a chance to focus in on this field and work more intimately with survivors and their families. Working with youth who have experienced domestic or interpersonal violence requires a specific knowledge base that I believe I can best gain through the certificate program.

 

What would be your ideal job after graduating with your MSW?
After graduation, I hope to work with underprivileged youth and LGBTQIA+ youth. One of the main goals that I wish to accomplish is to increase the number of safe community spaces for youth and the resources that are available to them. Through art and play therapy, as well as other comprehensive services, I would hope to create an environment where youth feel safe and secure and can begin to advocate for themselves.

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