Social Work alumni finds her voice

Jackie Wilson reflects on the opportunity to control her narrative in this Q&A

December 21, 2023 |

Jackie Wilson headshotWhat were your key takeaways from Minnesota State Mankato?

College taught me two important lessons—finding my personal voice and finding my professional voice. As an African woman, I was always silenced. Sadly, it was safest to be silent because once I spoke my accent came out and I was always branded as different even though I’ve been in this country since I was 5 years old.

What did finding your voice mean to you?

First, when it came to finding my personal voice, I had help from my peers and the community. I was a part of the African Student Association and my church community. Being a member of the African Student Association provided a safe place for me to be me and to honor and respect my African heritage without fear of being labeled as different. Second, finding my professional voice took me a little while to do. I knew I had found my professional voice in one of my last semesters when we were participating in practice interviews for class. This helped me understand that what I say to my clients can have a positive or negative impact on them.

You are a recent graduate—how’s it going?

Right now, I’m studying for the state licensure and currently working as a youth counselor. I’m still contemplating which path I should take as a social worker. Working at my current job is my way of deciding if I want to pursue working with children or work primarily with adults.

What are some of your favorite memories during your time at MSU?

One of my greatest memories was taking part in the Interprofessional Case Study Workshop in the College of Allied Health and Nursing. I had the opportunity to work with students from different majors in the College, gained knowledge of how other professions work and how to work together as one.

While in the workshop and interacting with my peers, I realized how important my profession, social work, was and the ideas I shared helped others to see the value of what social workers can bring to our society.

Learn more about Social Work programs at Minnesota State Mankato