Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

I have been inspired by connecting with people throughout my life. I majored in Special Education at Texas A&M University and my first job was in an elementary special education classroom in Houston. I had a group of students whose learning issues and abilities spanned a wide range. I quickly realized that meeting the needs of my students would require something more than theoretical knowledge. I transformed my classroom into a best-practice model where teachers across the district came to observe and learn. I had found a deep passion for advocacy and for empowering each child I worked with. My success in the classroom left me more motivated to impact people living with atypical circumstances and set the stage for working in death and dying, grief and loss, and my pursuit of a graduate education.

My work at Doug’s House Hospice, a residential hospice and recuperative care facility for people with HIV/AIDS, has further inspired my pursuit of higher education. Here, I participate in grief and loss with people who are vulnerable and historically underserved. I have the opportunity to be an empathetic listener for their concerns; this echos foundational principles of social work --the importance of human relationships, service, and the dignity and worth of the individual--and fuels my fire to pursue excellence in this work.

Additionally, my volunteer work at a peer-based grief and loss center has been beautifully inspiring. Children in these groups have experienced massive losses and in co-facilitating these groups, I have the opportunity to listen empathically to their processing. Being with these children in wide, vast, and deep emotions has me connect with those same places of vastness in myself. I have found that this work assumes we’re all connected. I am incredibly inspired to participate in further training in the form of trauma-informed care, resiliency, grief, and how these macro ideas intersect with both everyday and widespread loss as I pursue my degree.

Kat from Texas
Tulane University School of Social Work