August 16, 2016
Carlton Grover, a junior social work major, learned early this summer that she had been elected as the undergraduate student representative for the Ohio chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the professional organization for her future field.
"Carlton is a dedicated student who has seized some marvelous opportunities for experiential learning," said Sister Kathleen Cooney, O.S.U., Ph.D., L.S.W., director and professor in Ursuline's social work program. "She will be a compassionate, skilled social worker. We're very proud of her."
1. How did you feel when you received the news?
I was very surprised to learn that I’d won the election. It was statewide, so undergraduate social work students from all across the state were eligible to run, and some schools had multiple students running. Ursuline has a fairly small social work department. I was shocked to find out that I stood a chance winning against a pool of candidates that included people from much larger institutions. And I’m only an incoming junior!
2. You had to write a statement indicating to voting members why you thought you were qualified for the post. What were the reasons you gave?
I am secretary and president-elect of my college’s Social Work Organization. I have created flyers advertising our drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Family Room at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, our bake sale to help new BSW (bachelor’s in social work) students become NASW members, and I made one for Social Work Month. I also played an active role in organizing the drive and bake sale. I was part of a committee that organized a domestic violence awareness panel at Ursuline. Additionally, I participated in the Quad Bash student clubs fair, as well as the social work alumni and student event at Cleveland Playhouse.
I have been to all of the Cuyahoga County Conferences on Social Welfare since I took my first social work class at Ursuline in 2014. Ursuline College is a co-sponsor of this event and I have both participated and volunteered there.
I come from a women-focused college and am committed to achievement opportunities for women. Ursuline College has a small Social Work department but our program is diverse by age, religious background and ethnicity. I have a strong appreciation for diversity and differences, which is manifested in my interest in Central American refugees and the challenges they experience.
One of my older brothers has cerebral palsy and my best friend’s twin brother has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, so I am also sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities. As a BSW Student representative to the board, I bring experience in leadership on campus for the promotion of social work's commitment to our values as stated in the Code of Ethics, leadership in collaboration with community social agencies, such as the annual conferences in Cleveland and Office of Domestic Violence Outreach of the Jewish Family Services Association of Cleveland, which serves diverse populations including immigrants and refugees, and my personal commitment to women and adult persons with disabilities. I would bring the 'voice' of the baccalaureate student to this work.
3. What was your biggest take-away from the NASW conference you attended in Columbus this summer? Did it shed any light on your future career?
I’m learning about the importance of leadership and the power of the board of directors. I met a diverse array of social workers at the incoming board members meeting this summer, which was important for me to see because I’m still not totally certain about what I will do with my degree. One person I met at the meeting was knowledgeable about animal-assisted social work, which is something that interests me a great deal. I definitely want to get my master’s in social work, but I have so many other interests as well and I still don’t know where they will take me.
4. Tell us about your internship at United Cerebral Palsy.
I had the best summer because of my internship with UCP! I was involved in the Summer Youth Work Experience at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and I assisted UCP job coaches who were working with transitional-age youth with various disabilities as they learned employment skills. I discovered that I really love working with this population. I worked directly with the students, at first with the job coaches and later on more on my own. I helped to produce a Vocational Rehabilitation report, and I observed several meetings. I also had the opportunity to peruse case files and started to get a sense of the vast amount of paperwork job coaches have to do. I learned about Ohio’s Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and am just now wrapping up my Employment First certification course. I’m so grateful to everyone at United Cerebral Palsy who taught me so much and gave me the opportunity to do real and meaningful work, especially my supervisor, Sharon Meixner, and job coach, Maria Stearns.
5. Is your Ursuline education – with your double major in Social Work and Sociology – preparing you well for your career?
Absolutely. Both the Sociology and Social Work departments at Ursuline are fairly small and very tight-knit. Everyone is committed to helping each other succeed. The faculty are all committed to us, but it’s not just the faculty that sets Ursuline apart. The students really care about each other and there’s so much camaraderie among us. I’m a transfer student and I wasn’t really sure about Ursuline when I started here, but I couldn’t have made a better choice. I can confidently say that I know I’ll be very well prepared for graduate school and beyond. No matter where someone goes to college, their experience will largely be what they make of it, and there’s something to be said for the opportunities available to students at Ursuline that one may not find at a larger, more competitive institution.