Whitney Herrington | Missions ('09)
B.A. in Vocational Missions (2009)
M.S.S.W in Social Work (2011)
Social Work Student of the Year
Hometown: Weatherford, Texas
Whitney Herrington ('11) wants to change the world. But for Whitney, the world she wants to change is as close as her own backyard. She has spent the last several months working with homeless students in the Abilene area.
The community of ACU is awesome. Professors know your name and want to see you succeed.
Whitney earned a B.A. in vocational missions from ACU in 2009 and graduated in May with a master's degree in social work and recognition as Social Work Student of the Year. She's now ready to take on her doctorate and credits ACU's vigorous graduate program with preparing her well.
"Graduate school is definitely more intense," she says. "The pace is much faster, and more responsibility is expected of the students. However, being in a graduate program opens up opportunities to have professional experiences, network with social service agencies, and apply what's learned in the classroom to real life. It is a more meaningful experience."
Whitney's experience in research and writing will be particularly helpful as she continues her education. "ACU's graduate social work program is new, but already receiving recognition as one of the most rigorous and academically engaging graduate programs," she says.
Focus on homeless children
Her graduate research project was about faculty perceptions of homeless students and homeless students' self-perceptions. She served internships with Hendrick Medical Center in the case management department, and most recently with Communities in Schools, working with homeless students.
She also assisted faculty with research about the use of mobile technology in the classroom and worked as a graduate assistant.
Throughout it all, her relationship with professors kept her moving forward.
"The community of ACU is awesome. Professors know your name and want to see you succeed," Whitney says. "The individual relationship with the professors is above what a student could expect to experience at another university. Faculty will encourage and support students in pursuing educational and professional activities that are not a part of the curriculum. Faculty also connect with students on a personal and spiritual level. I have witnessed faculty praying with students, listening to their problems, and inviting students into their homes for fellowship."
While at ACU, Whitney has had the opportunity to attend and present at several conferences and has won several awards for her academic work. She presented papers at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Texas conference, the Association of History, Literature, Science and Technology conference and won an NASW statewide contest with a paper about the Social Work Reinvestment Initiative.
Whitney hopes eventually to become an international social worker, assisting refugees and displaced populations.
"I want to change the world. Be it one person at a time, or on a global level," she says. "The social work program has prepared me academically and professionally by teaching me a marketable and flexible skill set."
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