2016 Class Acts

A valuable perspective

11.30.2016--December 2016 graduate Cara Cheevers. James Byard / WUSTL Photos

Cara Cheevers of the Brown School says social workers bring a valuable perspective to organizational leadership and public policy. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

Social work has always been about helping people.

But for Cara Cheevers it is much more than that.

“The Brown School expanded my belief that social workers are needed in a wide variety of roles, sectors and conversations. We as a profession bring a unique and valuable perspective to organizational leadership, social impact and public policy,” said Cheevers, who graduates this December from Washington University in St. Louis  with a master of social work degree.

“The course work at the Brown School has broadened my understanding on topics ranging from gender identity in human diversity to nonprofit accounting to lobbying in the state legislature,” Cheevers said.

She plans to put that knowledge to use in her career, which she hopes to begin with a leadership position in public policy or advocacy. She will move back to her native Denver after Commencement.

Before attending the Brown School, Cheevers earned a bachelor of social work degree from Western Michigan University. “I liked that the MSW program at the Brown School built on that curriculum, but in less time than a traditional two-year master’s program,” she said.

“The backbone of the program centers on real people and prepares students to be micro-, mezzo- and macro-level advocates for people in a variety of settings and fields. And, as someone who worked for several years before returning to school, the length of the program was great, as I wanted to get back into the field as soon as possible.

“I ultimately chose the Brown School for the opportunity to study and work at a systems-level to serve vulnerable populations and communities,” she said. “Every day, I’m surrounded by students with incredible passion. I’ve learned just as much, if not more from my colleagues and their interests, than the coursework.”

–Neil Schoenherr