CBCS News

Social Work Student Graduates with Distinction

Social Work Student Graduates with Distinction

Congratulations to BSW winter graduate Jessica Greaves on receiving the honor of graduating with distinction from the USF College of Behavioral & Community Sciences (CBCS).

To graduate with distinction from CBCS, students must clearly stand apart from peers. The criteria for nomination include scholarly activity, professional development, community service, and/or examples of overcoming adversity/hardships. A letter written by Dr. David Kondrat, Assistant Professor and Chair of the BSW program gives many reasons why Jessica is so deserving of the award.

Jessica received all A’s in her social work courses and has been very committed to research. She participated in the Florida Mental Health Institute’s 2012 Summer Research Institute and won the Outstanding Research Project award. Working with her mentor, Dr. Alison Salloum, Jessica completed a program evaluation of the Youth with Sexual Behavior Problems program at the Crisis Center of Tampa and is working with Dr. Salloum on writing a manuscript for publication in a peer reviewed journal. She has also been invited by Dr. Kathleen Moore to work on a research grant. Jessica is committed to engage in research and obtain a PhD. She has actively volunteered since she was 11 years old, and currently mentors two young women in the community who have substance abuse and mental health issues.

Throughout Jessica’s life, she has overcome adversity and hardship. At the age of 15, she made the decision to drop out of school (she later earned her GED). For the next five years, she states that she “ran wild and had no concern for the world around me, my life, or for the people who cared about me. I was lost completely.” At 20, Jessica made the decision to enroll in a few classes at Hillsborough Community College. She realized that she has a passion for learning and helping others and her success at HCC allowed her to enroll at USF where she ‘fell in love with social work’.

“My educational path was long and hard,” said Jessica, “so when I got to the School of Social Work I found myself finally being completely engaged in what I was learning in school. The school’s staff and professors made me want to get more involved with my education and start planning early for my future career. We have an awesome social work program here at USF, complete with caring staff who are willing to go to many lengths to support the education of their students.”

“Jessica recognizes that overcoming adversity has positioned her to be successful and has formed her into the person she is today,” said Dr. David Kondrat, Assistant Professor and Chair, BSW program.

“The week before I graduated, I was so overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude,” added Jessica. “I was completely humbled that I had actually made it! In fact, this was the first time I ever graduated from anything. I chose to put the word “Gratitude” on my gradation cap so that I could share this feeling with my peers and so that everyone would see how thankful I was to be there. I would like to thank USF’s School of Social Work, USF’s SRI@FMHI program, and my family and friends for their support through this process. I would like to especially thank Dr. Alison Salloum and Dr. David Kondrat for recommending me for the honor of graduating with distinction. I am grateful beyond words.”

Jessica plans to complete the Master of Social Work program here at USF and will continue working with youth in the community. We wish her much luck and success in all of her future endeavors!