Editor’s Note: We asked a few of our graduating seniors to tell us about their experiences with the UM-Flint Social Work Program. Here’s what Fanta Doumbia had to say.
I love the University of Michigan-Flint Social Work Department’s strengths-based developmental model because how can we, as social workers, help our clients by looking at their strengths if we don’t know our own strengths? It’s so easy to focus on weaknesses. I used my strengths to elaborate on my personal statement about my qualifications for graduate school. I appreciate the strengths framework. I tell my peers that our strengths are what make us unique and will help us to excel in the profession.
I love the social justice aspect in our program. There’s so much community engagement! I’m not just a social work student on the outside looking in. I love how our program focuses not only on relationship-building through our cohorts but also in the Flint community. I am leaving the Social Work Program not merely a social worker on the outside looking in, but as an involved community member. I have my social worker hat on 24/7. So I find that any music or news that I’m listening to, I’m dissecting it from a social worker’s perspective. I’ve had to rethink my personal biases, and I keep building on the Ubuntu philosophy that I experienced in my South Africa study abroad trip last year. Our existence is connected to one another’s existence.
I find myself deeply humbled to have received an education in the UM-Flint BSW Program where I felt like I mattered. It’s like we’re a family. Our teachers get to know all of the students. I’m the current president of Phi Alpha, and what makes Phi Alpha so unique is that we serve as tutors and mentors for our fellow students, peer-reviewing their papers in social work courses that we have taken. We coordinate with the Social Work Club on community activities, too. We all believe our advancement in the program and in the field depends on one another.
I am a first-generation American. My parents immigrated to the United States from Ivory Coast, West Africa to provide us with better opportunities. Looking to the future, I plan to receive my MSW at the University of Michigan, and I’m interested in working in the area of mental illness and focusing on spiritually-integrated therapy within the African-Muslim community.
For information about the BSW Program at UM-Flint visit: www.umflint.edu/socialwork