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College of Social Work

Social Work Five: Five Questions with Michael Alexander

1. So tell us -- what have you learned about yourself getting your degree?  

I can do anything! I really amazed myself going through this program because I had several obligations during this period. I worked 25-30 hours a week, kept up with my field placement and I went to school full time. I had to make sure that I was practicing discipline in balancing my time to complete all my assignments, to work, visit my clients and have time for self-care.  


2. And who’s played a big role in your success?  

The College of Social Work as a whole played a key role in my success because failure is not an option for them. I have never been a part of a program where everyone (staff, faculty, research assistants) collectively cares about the overall success of their students The organization here works as a team to ensure the students have the resources they need to be successful. 


3. How the university and your degree change your life? 

 I had wanted to go back to school for a long time, but timing never allowed it. I graduated from USC-Beaufort with my BA in psychology in 2014 and, I had moved back to Columbia and started working for Verizon Wireless. I started in the Fall 2020 and the timing enhanced my educational experience. In 2020, while everyone was on lockdown, the murder of George Floyd happened. This led to a lot of conversations centered around social justice, police brutality and systemic racism. The College of Social Work changed my life because I learned about the origins and various forms of oppression. I feel more confident being an advocate because the College of Social Work has such a strong curriculum and an incredible faculty and staff who are invested in their students. 


4. Favorite memory while here?  

My favorite memory during my time at my university was the work that I got to do with Richland County CASA. I was placed here during my final semester and it has been great. We are guardian ad litems so we have the opportunity to advocate for abused and neglected children in court. We also work with the Richland County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. I enjoyed this placement because it was a hybrid of both micro and macro social work.  


5. So what’s next – future plans?  

I plan on preparing for the licensure exam, but I have also strongly considered adding Ph.D. to my name as well.  

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.