Social Work Student Spotlight: Chantel Gary

Chantel Gary

Chantel Gary is a junior BSW student. She graduated from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in May 2016 with an Associate in Arts degree.

Why did you choose Social Work?

Within finding what exactly I wanted to pursue as my career, nursing was my passion. After becoming a CNA, I realized nursing was not for me but rather helping make an impact on people’s lives. So before entering USM, I researched different careers and came upon social work, which I was skeptical about at first because just like others, I knew social workers to work with children. In speaking with an adviser on campus, Mrs. Delories Williams, she really opened my eyes to the different careers in social work and how one is able to work in different settings to impact others. From that conversation I knew this was the career for me.

What are some things you really love about Southern Miss?

The thing I love about Southern Miss is that we are on big family. Especially before and after entering the program, the faculty and staff really care for the students. They want you to succeed and believe that you can do it. The faculty and staff are always there to help and encourage you as well. Also the different organizations on campus, but also the lunch-and-learns. Who doesn’t love freed food?!

What population do you want to work with when you graduate?

I am still not exactly sure of what population I want to work with, but as it gets closer to graduation, I will have made my mind up. Right now I am introduced to so many populations that when one catches my eye, I will know.

What is your biggest accomplishment so far at USM?

One of my biggest accomplishments at USM was being accepted in the Social Work program, making the Dean’s List, and now as the secretary of the BSW Club.

What are some things you hope to accomplish while you are still a student?

My main goal is to be on the President’s List for my next three semesters; that right there would just make me happy and accomplished to know that I could do it. Other accomplishments are joining organizations and being more involved in school, but one major one is being a part of Southern Miss School of Social Work Ambassadors.

Are you planning to pursue an MSW?

Yes, my plan is right after I receive my bachelor’s is to pursue my master’s.

What are some organizations you are involved in at USM?

I am part of the Bachelor’s of Social Work Club, African-American Student Organization, Women and Gender Studies Student Organization, and Southern Miss School of Social Work Ambassadors.

Any advice to graduating seniors coming to Southern Miss?

Get to know your faculty and staff because they are the ones who will write letters of recommendations, as well as have a voice in certain things. Become involved on campus whether it is within your program or something you are passionate about. The biggest is do not be afraid to ask for help.

Anything else you want us to know about you?

I come from a military background and I love helping others and being involved as much as possible. In my spare time I love writing poetry, modeling, and traveling when I can. If you see me, do not be afraid to speak and ask questions.