Spotlight: Graduate Ambassador TiKilah Turner

By TiKilah Turner, Master of Social Work student

My alma mater (Alma College) had a scholarship program called the Campbell Scholars program that assisted students from Detroit Future schools with their transition to and through college. The Campbell Scholars program encouraged us to sign up to be mentees in the King-Chávez-Parks (KCP) Mentoring Program where we would be paired with an upperclassmen mentor. The following academic year, I continued to be a Campbell Scholar and became a KCP mentor.

The Campbell Scholars Program and KCP taught me about the importance of fostering meaningful relationships with people in your community. I had known for some time that I wanted to be a change-maker and believed that social work was the perfect avenue to do so. I decided to study macro social work because I believe community organizing and policy implementation are driving forces of society. The only difference between a thriving community and a surviving community is presence, availability, and awareness of resources.

Growing up in an individualistic society with a family that has a large social and professional network put the stark differences in my community on full display. Specifically, I recall moments in high school where fellow peers had needs, but no knowledge of the resources I felt were apparent. Now recognizing my privilege, I also recognize that a resource existing does not mean it is known about nor available to all individuals. Minimizing barriers and maximizing access are my passions and large components of my career pursuit.

All of the mentors that I have gained on my educational journey have been instrumental to my current and continued success. One note in particular that one of my mentors told me was, “You don’t have to do everything by 25.” In a few short words she told me a couple of things:

  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
  • Anything worth doing is worth waiting for.  
  • Enjoy the journey.

Earning my degree has not been without difficulty but leaning on my support system and using resources available at Wayne has helped tremendously. Keep on keeping on!

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