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College of Social Work

Student Spotlight: Sabrina Mackey

Dec. 3, 2019
Chris Woodley • 

Why did you decide to attend the Univ. of South Carolina College of Social Work?

I decided to come here after attending an orientation and touring the campus. The moment I stepped into the Hamilton College building, I got goose bumps and tears filled my eyes because I said, ‘This is where I’m supposed to be.’ If it was meant for me to attend graduate school, then this was the place for me, and I did not apply to any other school.

Who inspired you to study social work?

Dr. Shemika Stokes was a professor during my undergrad at Livingstone College. I had taken a social work class that was a requirement for my religious studies major and did very well. She asked me if I had ever thought about becoming a social worker, and I just laughed and said no. Each time she saw me she asked me the same question. I eventually started doing some research and found out that social work is not just SNAP and WIC. She asked me again at the end of my sophomore year and I said yes and added social work as a second major. I honestly have to say that social work found me. It was always in me; the seed just needed to be watered.

How important was it for you to complete your MSW in 11 months through the college’s Advanced Standing program?  

It is very important that I complete my degree in 11 months. I stepped out on faith and quit my job after being in my professional career for 23 years in the healthcare field as a billing supervisor for medical billers.

What do you enjoy most about field education?

I enjoy the hands on experience. The facility where I’m at currently (Lexington Medical Center) really values their employees and interns. The staff is so helpful and the engagement with the students is genuine.

What advice would you give someone from out-of-state who is considering relocating to study social work at the University of South Carolina?    

I would tell an out-of-state student to contact graduate housing because residences are limited. It also eliminated the stress of having two apartments with two sets of bills. Also, find a graduate assistance position that allows you to gain in-state tuition and a stipend. Finally, apply for scholarships. I was fortunate enough to be a RIBHS scholarship recipient. 

What do you enjoy most about living in Columbia?

There is something going on every weekend. It has really grown on me that instead of going home every weekend, I stay more now than I did when I first relocated to Columbia.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I want to obtain my social work license for both South Carolina and North Carolina and open my own small practice for individuals who need counseling after normal business hours. If I don’t secure a job in Columbia, I will return to Charlotte, North Carolina but will continue to seek employment in the area (medical social work) at my current field placement. I also want to earn my doctorate in social work.

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