By Kierra Richardson, as told to Sophia Vega
Kierra Richardson currently serves as Secretary for the 2020-2021 RUSSW Graduate Student Association Executive Council. We recently caught up with Kierra to discuss her position with the GSA, interests and thoughts on the field of social work and what led her to ultimately pursue her MSW degree with Rutgers.
Q: What drew you to social work? And why Rutgers SSW?
A: I loved that I would be able to do what I love-- helping others. I felt connected to the idea of being a voice for those who feel voiceless, especially in urban communities. Plus, the field of social work opens the door to a wide array of job opportunities to pursue careers in different sectors such as healthcare, law enforcement, policy reform and more.
I chose Rutgers SSW because I knew that Rutgers could provide me with everything that I was looking for. I was looking for quality education, growth opportunities, help with taking the licensing exam, help with finding a career, and proximity to home. Rutgers SSW checked off all of my boxes.
Q: Describe your role and work within the SSWGSA and how it has impacted your academic career?
A: I serve as the secretary for the SSWGSA. As secretary, I do the “basic” roles that everyone thinks of – take notes, help with the response to emails and attend meetings. While those are my immediate functions as Secretary, I also like to think that I play an important role in sharing my ideas and thoughts, while listening and learning from the other members of the SSWGSA.
Being a part of the SSWGSA has impacted my academic career because I feel like it is helping me to be a better active listener and speaking when the “moment feels right.”
Q: After you graduate, what career path are you hoping to take?
A: After I graduate, I don’t know where I will be (school, office, community center, etc.). I do know, however, that it will be working with children, adolescents, and their families in an urban setting with a counseling approach. Currently, I am looking at the more micro-level of social work, as opposed to, the macro level.
Q: What impact do you hope to see for the future of social work?
A: In general, I want to see more people who are invested in the field of social work, more people of color, more social workers who are LGBTQ+, and more who want to work in urban environments. As for impact, I want to see us be the frontline of change. I want to see headlines on how social workers helped reduce educational disparities, disparities with wages, reduce the levels of abuse, help with the reduction of child trafficking; the list could go on. I feel that social workers are quite capable of completing these tasks, as well as others. I believe that as long as there are social workers who are genuinely passionate about the field of social work, there is nothing that we cannot achieve or help change.