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College of Social Work

Student Spotlight: Morgan Carroll

Aug. 22, 2019
Chris Woodley • 

Master of Social Work advanced year student Morgan Carroll first stepped onto the University of South Carolina Horseshoe when she was a teenager. That experience fostered a goal of attending the university. Today, the Spartanburg, South Carolina native attends classes only footsteps away from the historic Horseshoe.    

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

As a first-generation college student, I began planning my educational goals before most of my peers. I always wanted to go to University of South Carolina. My family always fostered an appreciation for education and supported my journey of finding the best fit for me. I saw the horseshoe for the first time when I was 14 years old and was enamored with South Carolina’s campus.

Fast forward a couple of years when it was time to pick an undergraduate institution. I attended Sewanee: The University of the South (in Sewanee, Tenn.) and decided on the liberal arts experience, putting off the idea of going to South Carolina for a while. When I decided to apply to graduate school, I remembered my goal of going to UofSC. That’s when I found the College of Social Work and knew that I had to apply. 

What motivated you to study social work? 

I originally came into social work thinking that I wanted to be a therapist. I had an amazing relationship with my therapist in undergrad, and he really shaped the way I saw psychology and therapy. Although I always had some interest in mental health, he helped me see why I would be good at therapy. I chose social work as my way into therapy because it (social work) is hands on and action oriented, two things I highly value. Although I have exchanged the idea of being a therapist with more macro-oriented goals, there will always be a special place in my heart for why and how I chose social work. 

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

The classes that have had the most impact on my social work studies would be Dr. (Kirk) Foster’s Human Behavior and the Social Environment course and Dr. (Ben) Roth’s policy class. HBSE highlighted my love for understanding larger systems and macro social work in general. I have always been someone who often talks about the sociopolitical context and other systems perspectives. But until meeting Dr. Foster, I am now able to academically tackle these topics.

Dr. Roth’s policy class allowed me to apply my love of macro-oriented social work to our current sociopolitical context in the U.S. by equipping students with a historical foundation of social work, policy and the intersection of the two. His class teaches students how theory applies to the past and present. 

What do you enjoy most about field education?

Field Education is a great experience and a crucial part of the program. It gives you the opportunity to put your theoretical knowledge in practice while still learning. It is easy to sit in a classroom and learn about systems, clients, perspectives and theories. But it is different to see what you are learning in action. Field Education give you the opportunity to explore your interests as you begin seeing yourself as a social worker instead of just a student.

What social causes do you advocate for or inspire you the most?

The two issues that I hope to advocate for are anti-poverty efforts, and racial injustice and inequity. Growing up in a state where poverty is apparent, even within my own family history, I am interested in breaking down barriers for those experiencing poverty. One of my biggest interest areas explores the experiences of first-generation colleges students and how to make education more accessible. 

I also strongly believe that movements such as Black Lives Matter, which focus on injustice and inequity, are crucial and desperately important. From my perspective, every social issue is inherently tied together. Ultimately, you can never truly address poverty, violence, the patriarchy or anything else without considering the inherent privileges and denials built into the system. Any advocacy work, such as accessibility to education, is in vain if people are denied the right to exist, survive and thrive equitably.

What is your favorite spot on the South Carolina campus?

The horseshoe is the one place on campus that I have loved since I was 14, and it still holds a very special place in my heart. It’s a place where you can see the heart of campus, which is full of students and history. I love to take a walk there on nice fall days. 

What are your post-graduation plans? 

I hope to pursue a career in higher education and student affairs. Right now, I am excited for the journey.

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