BlavinScholars.org: What degree(s) will you be receiving this spring?
Kimberly: I will be receiving a Bachelor of Science in the field of Social Work.
BlavinScholars.org: What awards or honors have you received while at NAU?
Kimberly: For all four years of my college career I have been a member of the Blavin Scholars, on the Dean’s Honor List, and recipient of the Raymond Educational Foundation and Dean’s Tuition Scholarships. For the Spring semester of my senior year, I was also inducted into the Phi Alpha honor society.
BlavinScholars.org: What is your major and what inspired you to pursue that particular major?
Kimberly: I am a social work major. After having some difficulties with the nursing program, I had to face a change in majors. I picked social work because since I was a child, all I have wanted to do was help people in a meaningful way. Social work has provided me with so many opportunities to choose from, and they all provide lasting change.
BlavinScholars.org: What are your short-term goals for after graduation?
Kimberly: After graduation, I hope to get a position as a case manager with the county or the Department of Child Safety working with on-going case placements (such as foster care and adoption).
BlavinScholars.org: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Kimberly: In five years, I hope to have received my master’s degree in social work. I hope to be working with young adults who are preparing to age out of the foster care system. This population is greatly lacking support, and is often turned to adulthood unprepared. I hope to work as an individual social worker with the goal of making sure these youth have a solid start at life.
BlavinScholars.org: How have you grown as a person since first entering college?
Kimberly: I have grown in so many ways that I hardly recognize the person that I was when I entered college. I have become more confident in who I am as a person and what I have to offer to the world. I am more comfortable interacting with people that I don’t know, and with people from cultures that are very different than my own. I have a much richer appreciation for other cultures and perspectives, and I am constantly seeing what good people can offer to this world – rather than what bad things we are surrounded by. I also have a much stronger desire and passion to see this society change for the better, and for the first time I feel that I can be a part of that in a real and substantial way.
BlavinScholars.org: What excites you most about your future?
Kimberly: I am excited to be a positive force of change in this world. I feel that there is a lot of good that can be offered by people if you just know where to look and how to treat them – and I feel that NAU has taught to really value this point of view. I am looking forward to my Good Will Hunting moment!
BlavinScholars.org: What advice about higher education and life, in general, would you give to high school students who have experienced foster care?
Kimberly: As cheesy as it sounds – you CAN do it! It may feel like there is a lot going against you, and that there are always barriers keeping you from moving forward. The experiences that you have, and the things that you have been through should be motivation for you to continue on and make a difference in the world – to change the systems that have worked against you in a way that makes them work for the many other people that are going to be in them in the future. You have amazing potential, and you will do amazing things! Just don’t forget to look on the bright side and see the positive in as many places as you can.
BlavinScholars.org: What advice would you offer to incoming Blavin Scholars?
Kimberly: The Blavin Scholars is where you turn when it feels like you can’t do it anymore or when those systems are working against you again. It’s more than just money going towards your tuition, it’s a support system and a life line that truly cares about your success from start to finish. It’s a group that will provide life time connections, both personal and professional. It’s a family – lean on them!
BlavinScholars.org: What’s your biggest takeaway from your experience as a Blavin Scholar?
Kimberly: People are extremely resilient and overcome very traumatic situations. Everyone has potential to do something amazing, regardless of the hardships they have faced in their pasts. Another major take away for me is that sometimes it only takes one extremely caring and positive person to turn a person’s path around. One gentle hand can really guide a person towards growth. All it takes is one person to believe in you to make something feel possible – and I hope to always be that one person for my clients.