UA Little Rock is recognizing outstanding social work students in celebration of Social Work Month this March. Graduate student Tamiko Johnson, from Benton, Arkansas, is set to graduate this upcoming May before launching her career as a social worker.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a mother of 3 grown children. I entered the social work program as an undergraduate in August 2018 and graduated May 2020. I entered graduate school in advanced standing in the social work department in May 2020.
What made you decide to study social work at UA Little Rock?
My father died from cancer in 2017. I felt like my family would have benefited from having a social worker to help us process cancer and death. I also have several friends who are social workers. They began to tell me of the many ways I could help people and my community as a social worker. I was told UA Little Rock had one of the best undergraduate and graduate programs in Arkansas.
What are your plans after you graduate?
My plans after graduation are to sit for my licensure exam and begin my career as a mental health professional working with adults.
March is Social Work Month, and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) announced that the theme this month is “Social Workers are Essential.” Tell us why you think social workers are essential.
Social workers are essential because we meet our clients where they are. Our mission is to help our clients maximize their strengths and help them soar to their purpose in life. Social workers pick up the broken and help them discover that their brokenness can be healed, and they can create a beautiful life. Social workers advocate for the oppressed, marginalized, and the ones who get lost in the shuffle.
How has studying social work affected you as a person?
Studying social work has shown me my own brokenness, my biases, and that I truly have a humble heart to serve people.
Who have been some of your mentors or supporters throughout your time in the program?
My mentors are Tameka Seals and Elizabeth Fowler, the MSW field coordinator. My supporters are my children, my family, my significant other, my sister friends, and my church family.
What advice do you have for people thinking of majoring in social work?
Be prepared to do some deep personal healing, and be patient with yourself. Utilize your instructors, they have your best interest at heart. Connect with your classmates, and enjoy the journey.