Mary Elizabeth Wilkes
As a social worker, I am constantly learning from my clients and my education gave me the insight to be able to let these individuals teach me about their world.
How has your liberal arts education influenced you? How do you apply your LAE in your current career?
I have always had a passion for learning, which was enhanced by my liberal arts education (and why I chose that route in the first place) and continues to be present in my life now. As a social worker, I am constantly learning from my clients and my education gave me the insight to be able to let these individuals teach me about their world.
Who was your favorite faculty/staff member? Story?
Dr. Anderson was my favorite professor because her classes were always fun and interesting. But, one class she taught my final semester stands out in my mind as the one that impacted me the most. I’m not sure what the class was called but it covered homelessness, HIV/AIDS, environmental concerns and education disparities. Immediately after graduating, I moved to New Orleans and all of these topics came up almost immediately in my job as well as in the community I was joining. Now, I work with homeless adolescents and a big part of my job is HIV prevention and sexual education. I’ve also seen a lot of effects on the communities here because of the BP Oil Spill and how the cleanup efforts affected the health of those living along the coast. So, the lessons I learned in this class continue to be used every single day both in my profession and in my life.
What is your favorite Washington College memory?
I really enjoyed being a part of Greek Life at Washington College and the memories and friends that I made through that organization were the best parts of my college experience.
Did your Senior Capstone Experience (or thesis project) have a major influence on your future career or your personal growth? If so, please explain what your SCE entailed and how it influenced who or where you are today.(Internships, fellowships, Society of Junior Fellows projects, etc.)
I wrote my Senior Capstone Experience (we called it a thesis) on the stigma associated with HIV, and it continues to play a huge role in my career. Since I already knew the basics of HIV, I was able to get my first social work job working with adults living with HIV/AIDS in New Orleans. I worked with that organization for 5 years before moving over to Tulane where I work with homeless adolescents and do HIV prevention.
- Zeta Tau Alpha
Tulane School of Social Work, Masters in Social Work