Student awarded social work state board position, honor

She is a mother, wife and student, yet time still permits facing the unthinkable challenges. Michelle Tucker is a senior social work major, and this past summer, she received an award that will impact her future career.

Tucker was elected to be the Texas student representative on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Social Work.

When Tucker found out she had received the nomination, she said that words could not express the gratitude and privilege she felt.

“I was overwhelmed with emotion. I didn’t know how to react. I sat on my couch and began to weep with tears of joy. I felt honored and so grateful to be found qualified enough to serve in such an awesome position,” she said.

The position was granted to Tucker and it was not something she obtained overnight. There was a process and hard work. Through a nomination, position statements and ballots the time came to view the results.

Tucker said, “After the ballots came out, NASW members were given time to vote on whom they thought would be best suited for the position. Finally, the final results came out and my name was on it. I won.”

She has been given a chance to influence other students in the field of social work and also to promote being a part of a committee that can benefit the future.

“During my year of service, I will attend each board meeting that is held with the NASW and provide input from a student perspective on issues that may affect us now and in the future,” Tucker said.
She will speak with students from other universities about their concerns and ideas, then deliver them back to the NASW board. She believes the nomination is something that will also benefit her career.

“This award will help me in networking and getting to know others in this field that have already walked in my shoes and have experience   and wisdom about this profession,” she said.

It will also add to her resume, giving insight to employers that she is an experienced leader and is willing to serve others.

“I will show that I am passionate about the profession and dedicated to doing my best and reaching for higher heights as an individual,” Tucker said.

There have been several people in her life who have left lasting impressions on her, including her parents, husband and professors.

She said, “I will never forget them, no matter where my path leads me.”

This fall Tucker has been working on her social work internship at Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Evalua-tions. She said it has been a wonderful experience, and she has felt honored to be a part of the agency. It has challenged her.

“Each day that I go to this agency, I am humbled by the cases that we see, and I learn so much each day,” she said. “This intern placement has given me direct hands-on experience of the real world and real families who I plan to interact with in my future career. It’s the real thing.”

Dr. Isaac Gusukuma, chair of the Department of Social Work, Sociology and Criminal Justice, is one of Tucker’s professors and is the one who approached her about running for a position on the board.
He said the new NASW position will be a “huge responsibility and a big challenge.”

Gusukuma thinks Tucker is capable and holds individual qualities that will help her through the experience.

“She is very thoughtful in issues and concerns, in her work as well in classroom discussion . . . It’s a characteristic that will serve her well as a member of the board,” he said. “You want someone that will hear, listen, consider and seek answers in a very organized and logical way. I think Michelle is capable of that as well as many other students.”

Tucker has experienced more than just the academic environment of the university. This summer she was able to travel on a mission trip to England.

Senior psychology and communication double major Taylor Davis served with Tucker.

Davis said Tucker was a vital piece to her experience in England. They had several late night conversations to process the days’ events.

“She has such a sweet heart with a genuine passion for the Lord and for His people,” Davis said. “When I would get discouraged throughout our time, there she was, always ready with encouragement.”

She feels that Tucker is more than qualified to receive this honor.

“I definitely feel she deserved the award. She is a passionate person who works hard in her field and loves what she does.”

Tucker is continually striving to reach goals she has set for herself. She will be graduating this May and has high hopes for the road that lies ahead. Graduate school at the University of Oklahoma is her next challenge to tackle.

“When I am done with my masters, I plan to work in the clinical field with families and children and possibly work overseas with military families,” Tucker said. “I also have an interest in doing Mitigation, and I plan to pursue that immediately after completing my masters.”

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