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Student Spotlight: Annette T. Akibayo , MSW, Intensive Weekend student


1. Where are you from?
New Jersey

2. What drew you to the Rutgers School of Social Work program in particular?

It was very easy for me to choose the Rutgers School of Social Work. I loved my experience at Rutgers-Newark as an undergraduate student, and knew I wanted to further my education at Rutgers. I also had great professors as an undergraduate student, particularly Professor Audrey Redding-Raines, who was instrumental in exposing me to different aspects of social work. She encouraged and pushed me throughout my undergraduate career, and would always tell me, “Be proactive, not reactive!”

3. What were you most excited about in coming to the School and the program?

I was immediately excited about the challenge that I was getting myself into, as well as learning and developing clinical training skills, while continuing to learn and stay current on the different treatment modalities.

4. What are you most nervous about?

Initially, I was nervous to start the IWP because of how demanding it is, and how it would require so much of my time. This was a big step for me because I wondered if I would be able to balance life, work, graduate school, and an internship, yet I knew that this is what I wanted and had to go after it.

5. What are your areas of research or professional interest?

My areas of professional interest include International Social Work (advocacy on mental health challenges), mental and behavioral health, music therapy, and School Social Work to name a few.

6. Why do you have this particular interest?

One of the many reasons why obtaining my MSW is important to me is because I would like to spread advocacy and awareness on mental health challenges on a global platform. My family is from Nigeria, where there is a stigma on mental health. There is a huge gap in mental health care education and treatment. The lack of resources for mental health is currently a multifaceted problem. As a Nigerian-American in the diaspora, I want to be able to utilize what I’ve learned to educate and integrate different interventions to provide change and support.

7. List 5 words that friends would use to describe you.

Ambitious, gentle, understanding, confident, and hard working.

8. What is your favorite quote or phrase that serves as your personal creed or motto?

There are two quotes that resonate with me today. The first one is by Henry Drummond that says, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you,” and the second one is, “Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others,” by Marian Wright Edelman.

9. What are you reading/watching currently? 

I just finished reading History of the Yoruba People by Alfred Burton Ellis, and now, I am currently reading A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Currently, I am watching Greenleaf and Narcos.

10. Anything else you feel is important for your fellow students to know about you?

Everything that I want to accomplish, I pray to God and leave it in His hands for it to manifest. I want my fellow students to know that it is a good thing to dream big, think outside the box, and execute what you want. I have always been a firm believer in the quote “there are no limitations to what I can do.” My desire is to go beyond helping someone; it is to help set things right and make a lasting difference. I am very passionate about social work, and this passion comes from knowing that changing the world starts with helping one person and being able to empathize with them.

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