Social Work Student Spotlight: Kelli Shoemake

Kelli Shoemake-Feature

Kelli Shoemake is a sophomore Pre-Social Work student at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a 2016 alumnus of Presbyterian Christian School in Hattiesburg.

Why did you choose Social Work?
I have a passion to serve those in need not only through hands-on services but also through seeking justice in policy. Social work allows one to intertwine micro-scale experience with macro-scale advocacy, so with this unique aspect of social work, I can make change both in individuals’ lives and in policy.

What are some things you really love about Southern Miss?
For one, Southern Miss faculty, staff, and students prioritize serving our school and our community. (We even have our own food pantry on campus!) There is also active effort invested into seeking unity in the diversity of all our different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities. In addition, campus organizations are largely student-led, and in that abundance of leaders are ambitious and innovative minds driven toward a promising and kind future. With these attributes, Southern Miss is a place for everyone’s voice to be heard; together, faculty, staff, and students never stop serving, learning, discovering, and creating.

What population do you want to work with when you graduate?
Currently, I am most interested in being a school social worker with a clinical license. I plan to get a minor in Child Advocacy, so anything involving children and families interests me the most. I could also see myself one day working in a children’s hospital or with CPS.

What is your biggest accomplishment so far at USM?
Being an ambassador! I never saw myself as someone who could be so involved, especially in recruiting, because I never thought of myself as capable of being a leader. However, I fell in love with the School of Social Work and its inspiring faculty and staff, and I found my niche in a place where I can thrive and become the leader I have always wanted to be.

What are some things you hope to accomplish while you are still a student?
I hope to start research soon, and I hope to present at the National Association of Social Workers conference before I graduate.

Are you planning to pursue an MSW (Master’s of Social Work)?

What are some organizations you are involved in at USM?
College of Health Ambassadors, School of Social Work Ambassadors, BSW Club, English Conversation Partners in the English Language Institute

Any advice to graduating seniors coming to Southern Miss?
First of all, get as involved as you can! You will have the chance to engage with so many future leaders who are unlike yourself – seize that opportunity to learn, connect, and grow! Second of all, take all your classes as serious chances to expand your knowledge; challenge yourself to reach your full potential. It truly pays off.

Anything else you want us to know about you?
After I’ve had experience working in the social work field, I plan to one day return to school for my Ph.D. in Social Work so that I can do research and teach while focusing on advocacy.