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College of Social Work

3 BSW Students Recognized at Awards Day

April 23, 2019
Chris Woodley • 

Three Bachelor of Social Work students were among the more than 200 University of South Carolina students honored at the annual University Awards Day on April 18 on the historic Horseshoe. Seniors Sarah Cassidy, Shelby Guinn and Youstina Rezkalla were recognized for their achievements and service during their undergraduate studies at the College of Social Work. The awards were presented by BSW Program Coordinator Daniel Freedman.  

Cassidy received the BSW Student Achievement Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who has made substantial achievements within and outside of the classroom and understands the importance of applying social work values.

“The BSW Student Achievement Award demonstrates that I have made an impact and solidifies that I am headed into a profession where I can make a difference in helping others,” Cassidy said. “It’s a great way to cap off my time at South Carolina.”

The Cranford, New Jersey native also expressed her gratitude for the college’s opportunities.

“I’m grateful for the support that I have received from the College of Social Work,” Cassidy said. “The BSW program has provided me with great opportunities to serve others with service-learning courses, field placements and student organizations. Every professor was always willing to help, and the BSW courses taught me how to be a competent social worker and engage with the community. I feel prepared to be a professional social worker because of the guidance I received.” 

After graduating next month, Cassidy will attend New York University to earn her Master of Social Work. Her career aspirations include working with foster care youth or at an adoption agency.

Shelby Guinn was presented with the BSW Community Engagement Award for her substantial community service. Guinn compiled over 130 hours of service as an advocate for Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. She also completed her field education at Communities in Schools of the Midlands in Columbia. 

“Winning the BSW community engagement award is an honor,” Guinn said. “It makes me feel that the work that I put into the Midlands community is being recognized. The BSW program has given me the proper skills to address and understand the needs of people and their communities.”

Guinn, a native of Lugoff, South Carolina, will continue to serve after graduation. She will volunteer with AmeriCorps for one year, followed by a two-year assignment with the Peace Corps. Guinn also has plans to enroll in graduate school.

Youstina Rezkalla earned the BSW Diversity and Inclusion Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who has made a substantial impact on marginalized communities within and outside the university. For example, as a McNair Scholar last year, Rezkalla completed a six-week research project, Why the school prison pipeline in South Carolina targets marginalized groups and the long-term effects of it. She also received the Changing Face of USC Diversity Award from the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs earlier this month.  

“Winning an award of this stature has solidified to me that I impacted my college and community in significant ways,” Rezkalla said. “It’s amazing to know that my hard work over the past four years did not go unnoticed, and now I am prepared to go into the world and continue to advocate and create change to improve marginalized communities.” 

Rezkalla, who was born in Cairo, Egypt before moving to Greenville, also explained how the college provided her opportunities for advocacy.

“The College of Social Work has given me the opportunity to create change not only from within, but in the community through my field placement,” Rezkalla says. “This college teaches transferable skills in the classroom, such as advocacy and empathy, that I can use in real world settings.”

Rezkalla will continue her studies at Florida A&M University Law school, where she will pursue her Juris Doctor in civil rights.

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