Posted by Sara Meers on June 30, 2014
Discover what matters. And build your life around it. That is exactly what social work major Tiffany Cunnally did during her time at Aurora University.
“I discovered something very meaningful about myself and human behavior in the social environment,” she said. “That the trajectory of our lives can be significantly altered by forces outside us. I began to think about what things have influenced my life, like my decision to join the Army, and how my decisions have impacted others.” Since then, Cunnally has felt a calling to serve those who have been most influenced by the consequences of war, including military veterans and refuges.
Cunnally is a U.S. Army veteran and became actively involved in on-campus organizations during her time at AU. She focused much of her undergraduate studies on resettling refugees in DuPage County, and researching post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and systems of oppression related to immigration and mental healthcare. And as president of the Aurora University Veterans and Military Service Association (VMSA), she organized AU’s first Veteran’s Day celebration, an off-campus field trip to see the Vietnam Moving Wall and a supply drive for the military members serving time in Afghanistan.
Her leadership also resulted in the first bill in the state legislature to authorize the State of Illinois to issue Blue Star license plates to immediate family members of active duty armed forces members. The plates honor both the active duty member and their families.
For her hard work and dedication, Cunnally was awarded the 2014 George Williams Legacy Social Work Award at Honors Convocation in the spring. The award embodies the spirit of George Williams, the founder of the YMCA known for leadership and dedication to social reform through empowerment.
And Cunnally will remain dedicated to her passion as she moves forward with her career. “I plan to head to grad school in the fall, and I am hoping to refine my passion for serving those who have been traumatized by war,” she said.
For more information on Aurora University’s social work programs, please visit aurora.edu/socialwork.