UA Little Rock is recognizing outstanding social work students in celebration of Social Work Month. Graduate student Infinity Wallace has been studying social work for the past four years, but said she feels like she has always been a social worker at heart, even before pursuing the degree.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Little Rock. I briefly lived in a few other states like Louisiana, Virginia, and Tennessee growing up, but I always found my way back home.
What made you decide to study social work at UA Little Rock?
I decided to study social work because I have seen a drastic need in my community ever since I was a little girl. There is an overwhelming amount of economic, social, and racial injustice that continues to impact individuals and influence larger systems, like the criminal justice system, educational system, and public policy. My plan is to alleviate many of the injustices and disparities that so many people, including myself, have both experienced and witnessed. I chose UA Little Rock because they offered a competitive social work program right here at home that I knew would equip and empower me to reach my professional goals.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I received a summer scholarship and internship in Washington D.C. as part of the EmpowHER program. However, the program was delayed again due to Covid-19, so I will not be able to attend after graduation like I initially planned. Instead, I plan on staying home and focusing on launching my career. I eventually want to run for local office here in Little Rock so I may even search for some opportunities that will help me hone in on some of my skills in that area so that I can try to make a difference right here in my community.
March is Social Work Month, and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) announced that the theme this month is “Social Workers are Essential.” Why do you think social workers are essential?
They are the change agents that we need. I think one of the things that 2020 showed us is that, although we have come a long way, we still have quite a long way to go. As social workers, we have the ability to meet people where they are and walk with them as they get to where they need to go. We are essential because we see the dignity and worth of every individual and can make positive differences in whatever role we assume.
How has studying social work affected you as a person?
It has allowed me to reflect on who I am and what I value and has challenged me for the better. This profession is definitely not easy, but the rewards are great. Seeing the difference you can make in the lives of others while also seeing a difference in your own life is worth more than any salary, title, or accolade there is.
Who have been some of your mentors or supporters throughout your time in the program?
The entire social work faculty have all been such great mentors and supporters. They have been true examples of social workers and are great at using their own experiences as teaching examples. My classmates have also been so supportive of one another as we continue to learn and grow together. Even amid a pandemic, my classmates continue to show an exceptional amount of courage, ambition, and strength. In addition, God and my loved ones have undoubtedly kept me going even when it was hard to do so. I could not have done this without them.
What advice do you have for people thinking of majoring in social work?
It will not be easy. Sometimes you will question yourself and the world around you, but that is how you will know that you are growing. Trust me, when you look back on your social work journey and see the impacts that you have had on countless souls, you will be so happy that you chose this career, and so will the rest of the world.