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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Testimonials

Carina Carina Dente

My experience in this program has been simply wonderful. I have gained so much knowledge and insight about some of the sad, hard truths about the marginalized and oppressed in our society, and at the same time have learned skills to help empower and advocate for these groups of people.

I realized during my junior year that I would like to follow the child welfare path and made it my goal to learn as much as I could about neglected and abused children and what happens to them in the foster care system. I have had the privilege of interning at two agencies that seek to better the lives of children in this very system. These internships have helped to cement my desire to come alongside the neglected and abused children of Nashville in order to help create safety, permanency, and well-being for them as quickly as possible.

The social work program does an amazing job of combining classroom learning with real world experience. It provides opportunities to learn about many different groups of people, challenges the students to examine their perceptions and ask hard questions, and creates a safe environment to be vulnerable and truthful.  

I don’t know where I would be today without the social work program. I have grown so much as I’ve gotten to engage with a wonderful group of classmates (who are all going to go on to do amazing things), empathetic, knowledgeable, and passionate professors, and interesting courses which have challenged me to do my very best. When in doubt, choose social work!


Dina El-Rifai Dina El-Rifai

As an American Muslim in a post-9/11 America, issues of social justice, equality, discrimination, and public policy have been passions and interests that I have inherited as part of my identity. Empathy, caring for others, and being a compassionate presence that was concerned with and advocated for the well-being of those who are most vulnerable has always been a nature of mine. So, when I took Intro to Social Work my sophomore year, everything immediately clicked into place. I found Social Work as a way for me to grow into the person I already was, and was able to equip myself with the skills to serve, to empathize, to learn about the links between a person and the environment in which they have grown in, to learn how to best serve those vulnerable people on a human-level, while also doing macro work — doing research, assessing needs, identifying barriers in the system, and advancing human rights and social justice through advocating for social welfare policies. 

It is because of this social work program and the professors and students that I have felt valued as a minority and have been empowered to uplift not only my own voice, but the voices of all minorities in the movement for social change and empowerment.

It is because of this program that I feel encouraged and strong in my resilience. I am currently completing my field placement at the Tennessee Justice Center in which we serve families in need, protecting their rights through advocacy, welfare reform, civil rights, and fighting for equal access to affordable, adequate healthcare, working both on a micro level serving individual clients as well as a systems-level of advocating for policies and reform. I aspire to continue to do this work, to pursue a Master’s of Social Work as well as a degree in civil rights and public policy and to continue to advocate for policies and social change that advance human rights and social justice.


Tori Tori Boyer
I switched into social work from the education department in October of my freshman year.  Prior to meeting a professor in the department, I did not even know that social work was a major but I knew pretty quickly that it was exactly what I have always wanted to do - work in a capacity that is both fulfilling and meaningfully impacts others.  From the moment I switched, I have encountered nothing but encouragement and wisdom from the faculty who have pushed me to be my best.  I was able to take a variety of electives that interested and challenged me, including mental health, spirituality in social work and sustainability.  I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain for a semester to complete my minor in Spanish, which I have utilized in both field placements.  I had countless opportunities to learn, with experiences ranging from field trips to the state capital to meet with government officials to meeting with a social worker at a counseling center for children.  There were also countless guest speakers in all of my classes, giving me the opportunity to learn about the many types of settings that social workers can practice in.  Through all of the experiences both inside and outside the classroom, I was completely prepared me for my work in field placements at both a refugee resettlement agency and an assisted living home for the elderly.  I engage with a wide variety of individuals at these agencies every day, drawing on my education in diversity, cultural competency, ethics, group and individual work and advocacy.  

After graduation, I will begin Azusa Pacific University’s Master of Social Work program with a concentration in clinical social work.  I hope to one day work either in an adoption agency or in a hospice/palliative care setting.  No matter where I end up, though, I am excited and confident in my future as a social worker!



Sarah Sarah Moore
Throughout my time in the social work program at Belmont I have learned more than I ever imagined. I have always had the desire to help people and the social work program has given me the tools I need to do so. In the program, I learned many practical skills in working with individuals and about policy. Not only was I given the tools necessary to be a social worker, I was also taught how to better love and care for people. I learned how narrow my perception is and that because of my limited experience, I must listen and learn from those I am trying to help. I have also been taught the importance of caring for myself as I care for people in vulnerable places. Each of these lessons I have learned in the classroom have come into play in my field experience. I have had field experience with high school students and with adults in need of financial assistance and each day I see a diverse range of clients.

The social work program has molded the way I see the Nashville community. It has reminded me there are people in our community in really tough places, people who are often not respected enough to be heard. The social work program has given me the tools necessary to sit and listen to what the person has to say and stand up with them and advocate for their needs. Not only was I shown the needs of our community, I was shown how to find ways to fill those needs.


Kamrie Kamrie Reed
Upon coming to Belmont University, I was a passionate student who was eager to help survivors of trafficking in any way I can. While I clearly possessed a drive and compassion to work and help others, I had no idea how to get from point A to point B. The Social Work Department at Belmont University met me exactly where I was by providing a safe environment for me to learn new skills that refined my passion. Each professor reflected the many facets of social work and mentored me on ethical and professional ways to conduct research, advocate with others, and empower individuals and communities.  In addition to learning about my own privilege, bias, strengths, and opportunities for growth, I was given tangible skills to meet individuals and communities in their most vulnerable moments. The Social Work Department assisted me in laying a strong educational foundation that has empowered me to relentlessly pursue my calling in working with survivors of human trafficking