Miea Walker is a second year Graduate Student in the Masters of Social Work (MSW) Program at NC State. Originally from Smithfield, North Carolina, Walker attended undergrad at the UNC – Chapel Hill for two years, took a break, and then enrolled at Shaw University where she received her Bachelors Degree in Sociology. In early April, Walker sat down with Paige Moore in order to reflect on her time at NC State and the lessons learned along the way.
What made you decide to pursue a career in Social Work?
I believe Social Work has always been embedded in me. I am very passionate about mass incarceration and reentry as well as the therapeutic side to treating individuals who struggle with substance use and psychiatric disorders. However, my decision to pursue Social Work stemmed from my relationship with Dr. Alice Noell. Dr. Noell is a Clinical Social Worker and an Adjunct Professor at Wake Tech. She was my Social Work professor at Shaw University and she noticed my drive, compassion and skill set. Being in her class motivated me to explore Social Work and what it had to offer. After researching several different universities I made the decision to apply to the MSW program in the fall of 2012 and now, here I am.
What do you enjoy most about working with the community?
I really love educating people about mass incarceration and how we, as a community, can bridge the gap in service delivery. I believe it is imperative we communicate with members of the community to ensure that those who are incarcerated and returning home have the support needed to be successful when re-entering into society. It is about creating sustainable change, partnering with community leaders and businesses as well as training mentors can help establish a system that promotes and supports individuals transitioning back into society after they have served their time.
What are some organizations that you are affiliated with both on and off campus?
On campus, I am a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society (a Social Work National Honor Society) as well as the Graduate Student of Social Work Association (GSSWA). GSSWA, which is a Graduate level program, provides Graduate Social Work students with an opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to real-life situations through advocating and assisting members of the community. I am also a member of the Diversity, Recruitment and Retention Committee and the Social Work Advisory Board. Off campus, I am a member of Christian Community Development Association Mass Incarceration Task Force and the Wake County Re-entry Steering Committee, which reports to NC Reentry Task Force. I also serve on the Board of Directors for Benevolence Farm (a transitional home for women) as well as the local Prison Fellowship Re-entry Team. Lastly, I have been recruited to join the Education Advisory Work-group for Project Pathways with the Department of Public Safety.
After Graduating, what are you going to miss the most about NC State?
NC State has been like a second home and my cohort has become my second family. My fellow classmates are a very compassionate group and I love the time I have shared with them.
After Graduation, what are you going to miss the most about the Department of Social Work at NC State?
I don’t think I would be as far in my career without the Department of Social Work. Our faculty has great insight into seeing people’s potential for greatness. They do not allow us to sit in the shadows; this program grooms leaders. The MSW department created a platform for me to showcase my talents and gifts, which has been so amazing. For the first time I feel empowered to be myself in a professional capacity. That is what I am going to miss the most.
Are there any specific faculty members that you would like to acknowledge for you success here at NC State?
I would like to say that every member of the Department of Social Work has played a role in my success here. My life has been truly blessed by the faculty and staff and I would not have the career I have without them. I especially would like to think Dr. Taliaferro who is my advisor and is such a phenomenal woman. She was the first person to encourage me to be myself and not be ashamed. She has been in my corner since the day we met and she is one of my strongest advocates. Dr. Hall encouraged me to live out my passion and she opened the door for my first year clinical placement at TROSA. Professor Andreaus has always been my cheerleader! She has supported and encouraged me no matter what. She has played a huge roll in terms of my career. I would also like to thank Professor Zelter who sparked my love for policy, advocacy and community engagement. She taught me how to use my voice and challenged me to move beyond my comfort zone. Last but certainly not least I would like to thank Dr. Bullock for creating, leading and shaping the culture for an excellent Department. It has been an amazing ride! We as a department would like to congratulate Miea Walker for all that she has accomplished. We wish her the best of luck in her career endeavors moving forward and know that she will be a phenomenal agent of change within her community.