Name: Daniele Araujo
Program: Social Work
Why did you choose UMBC at The Universities at Shady Grove?
The Universities at Shady Grove seemed like the perfect option for me because it is located just five minutes from my house and has a reputable social work program. After visiting, I fell in love with the modern, eco-friendly facilities. But what won me over was the opportunity to have small classes and the chance to get to know my professors, the university's staff and classmates more closely than if I were attending a big campus.
What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
The diversity of the student population and the Green Grove Café are my two favorite things about UMBC-Shady Grove. You cannot find such high quality of food for an affordable price in any other school's cafeteria. Chef Franz Corrales combines students' food requests with his creativity and always makes sure that the meals are delicious and healthy. I love the fact that Shady Grove is concerned with its students' health and well-being. They even offer free membership to the campus gym!
What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
During two semesters I had the opportunity to take a paid internship at the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW) and I worked as a liaison between the NACW and all the other commissions for women in America. It was a wonderful experience and at the end, I had the chance to attend a meeting with Tina Tchen, President Obama's appointed Executive Director for the Council on Women and Girls at the White House. That was definitely the icing on the cake. During that internship, I also had the opportunity to be exposed to the “macro” side of social work. I was able to see first-hand how policies affect the work of the Commissions for Women and, consequently, the community they serve.
I also worked as a social work intern at Adventist Behavioral Health (ABH)--a psychiatric hospital in Rockville, MD for a year. I cannot express with words how much that experience has affected me. It was wonderful to have the chance to work with such a resilient population and to be able to develop important professional skills that will, undoubtedly, help me in future career choices. Despite the fast-paced, intense environment, I loved the support and teachings I received from my co-workers and the other staff at ABH. Because of that internship, I was able to relate and apply theoretical concepts learned in the classroom to the “real world.”
What are your plans after graduation?
I have been accepted for the Advanced Standing Social Work Program at the Catholic University of America (CUA), which I am very happy and grateful for. My plan is to continue my education and receive an MSW within a year.
What advice would you give to a prospective student?
Stay focused and believe that, no matter how hard things seem to be at the moment, with work and perseverance, everything will fall into place. Also, make use of your support systems--friends, family, professors, etc.--to be able to manage the stress and obstacles that come along with school. For international students like me, this is even more important. The most important thing for me was the help that I received from the people around me when I felt like I could not "keep going" anymore. I could not have gotten where I am without them. Finally, DO take time to take care of yourself by doing something you love.