Posted by Jeremy Pittenger on August 9, 2013
As a high school student, Ariana Carlson knew she wanted to pursue a helping profession. It’s a dream she still holds today as a recent Aurora University social work graduate who will begin the MSW program at the university this fall. Her dedication to learning and serving others was recognized at the 2013 Honors Convocation ceremony with the presentation of the George Williams Legacy Social Work Award. The award embodies the spirit of George Williams, the founder of the YMCA known for leadership and dedication to social reform through empowerment.
Ariana’s non-academic endeavors in public health education have demonstrated a commitment to helping future generations of women. The bulk of her volunteerism as a student centered around outreach, education and advocacy work for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. This year she will intern with the Kendall County Special Education Cooperative. She credits her Aurora University experience for preparing her for these experiences.
“The BSW program really helped me grow as a person and a professional,” said Ariana. “Social work can be complex to approach in the classroom since there are so many dimensions of advocating for people. The BSW program did an excellent job of integrating all those dynamics within a fluid journey of growth.”
Ariana complemented her social work studies with a minor in servant leadership, which provided her an opportunity to explore leadership while engaging in an ongoing process of self-reflection and hands-on service. “The process of reflection and growth that the program encompasses is invaluable,” she said. “This was a unique aspect of my education that I would not have been the same without.”
As Ariana looks to the future, she hopes to continue her connection to education. “I’d like to work within a school because I feel I can have a proactive role in inspiring and empowering students,” she said. “By influencing young students, I can help them to form a base for a healthier and more fulfilling life. AU not only continues to provide me with the tangible tools to deliver services to students, but also helps me to be insightful and have empathy to truly influence others.”