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College of Social Work

Student Spotlight - Brianna Jenkins

Sept. 18, 2018
By Chris Woodley,

MSW Advanced Year student Brianna Jenkins came to Columbia to study at Allen University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social science, with a concentration in human services. But she decided to stay in South Carolina’s capital city to attend the College of Social Work.

Why did you decide to attend the College of Social Work?

I always knew that I wanted to help and serve others, but prior to graduating with my undergrad, I had zero clue of how I would accomplish this. A great professor of mine pushed me to apply to USC and encouraged me that applying to this program and getting accepted would change my life. He was absolutely right! 

What inspired or motivated you to study social work?

Throughout my life and even more so as I completed my undergraduate degree, I had a plethora of opportunities to give back to my community and serve others. I not only found joy in giving back, but it also pushed me to advocate for those who simply could not advocate for themselves. Whether finding community resources or simply speaking to a random stranger on the block, I knew that serving others was my passion.  

What class had the most impact on your social work studies?

Diversity! Entering graduate school last fall bright and early on a Monday morning, Diversity was my first class. This class shaped me into a better practitioner not only in the field but also in my personal life. Not only did I learn to be more understanding with my peers and clients, but this also extended to those open conversations and dialogues that no one wanted to have. I thank Dr. K (Katrina Spigner) for opening me up to that amazing experience!

What do you enjoy most about field education?

I love my current field placement at the Department of Juvenile Justice because I work directly with juveniles regarding their treatment plans and goals. It’s great to learn something new every day, and the hands-on experience is helping me evolve into a better social worker. I previously interned at the Domestic Abuse Center, which is a batterer’s intervention program for those charged with domestic violence.

How has the College of Social Work faculty and staff helped you overcome challenges to help you best succeed?

I definitely owe my first year of graduate school success to Ms. (Frances) Spann. She was my advisor and recently retired in the summer of 2018. Without her I probably would have fell way off! She always encouraged me to get my work in ahead of time and kept it real with me even when I didn’t want to hear it, but it made me tougher. I appreciate all she did for the students in this program.

What is your favorite spot on the UofSC campus and why?

The Russell House Chick-Fil-A! You can never go wrong with chicken nuggets in the middle of a break from class!

What are your post-graduation plans?

I plan to pass the licensure exam and work in the field as a social worker. But I have always aspired to start a non-profit and becoming a rehabilitation coordinator for juveniles in the criminal justice system that would help them socially and economically pending parole. Later, I plan to get my Ph.D. in Community Development.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.