Mary Elizabeth Wilkes
I am doing really well in New Orleans. I am currently working as a social worker at Belle Reve, a facility that serves as temporary housing for homeless adults and families living with HIV, while attending night classes at Tulane University to get my Masters in Social Work.
I will graduate from Tulane next May, and then hopefully continue on working at Belle Reve while I work towards getting my license. Also as a part of my program at Tulane, I am going to India in September with the dean of our school and a group of students to work with Tibetian refugees. I will be gone for a month, and I am very excited for the experience!
I definitely think that the Sociology department really helped me in my graduate studies, and the information I gathered while researching for my thesis (stigma associated with HIV) has a direct impact in my day-to-day life as a social worker. In fact, when I interviewed for the position, I mentioned it to my boss that I had researched the HIV stigma, and I have to believe it had an impact on them hiring me.
I really enjoy working with HIV+ individuals, and I never would have thought to do that if it wasn’t for my senior thesis. I also think that the class Dr. Anderson taught my senior year which covered homelessness also impacted the way I see the topic, and comes through in the way I treat my clients. It encourages me to really try to understand what my clients are going through, and find solutions that they can work with.