Social Work Month Student Spotlight: Jordan

Name: Jordan Atkinson

Degree & Graduation Year: BSW, May 2023

Tell us about your hobbies and involvement at ECU?
I enjoy playing video games and meeting new people. I love to travel and hope to visit somewhere out of the country when I graduate. I am a member of the BSWSA. 

What brought you to ECU? 
I grew up about 20 minutes from ECU.  I originally thought that I wanted to leave the Greenville area and go off to college so I went to a different university as a freshman. When COVID hit, it was my freshman year so I decided to transfer closer to home and go to ECU since all classes were online anyway so it was more cost efficient, and I was able to save money by doing that. 

Why do you want to enter the field of Social Work? 
I have always liked helping people. I feel that I can be an asset to helping people in the community to find resources to better themselves and their families. I want to be someone who looks to find the best in people even when they are down on their luck. I want to be the person who gives a hopeless person hope again. 

What is your favorite aspect of Social Work?
My favorite aspect of social work is counseling and therapy whether it be individual or group.  I think sport social work is a growing new aspect of social work practice, and I would like to focus my attention on working with athletes and helping athletes to cope with the many problems they might face daily. 

Tell us about your favorite Social Work course or professor(s)? 
My favorite class so far was Social Work in Sports.  I did not realize social workers were a part of college athletic programs and even professional sports. I learned a lot about how a social worker can be used to work with professional and college athletes through counseling and support services and helping these athletes to deal with such things as NIL contracts and social media pressures. 

What kind of setting or future job do you hope to have upon graduation?
After graduating with my BSW, I hope to continue on to get my MSW.  After that, I would like to work with athletes in the sports industry either at a college level or professional level. 

Tell us about your current internship/field placement or where you hope to intern?
I am currently interning with a private practice mental health center for adults and children. The agency is committed to developing and promoting high quality community based services and program alternatives that provide nurturing, caring, family environments for adults and youth with mental health, mental disabilities, or substance abuse needs. I spend two days per week at a high risk lower socioeconomic school providing services to at risk students.  

This year’s theme for social work month is breaking barriers. How do you plan to use your education, experience and passion for the field to help break barriers for those you work with and in the community?
I feel that I can be a good example for other black males. I feel that I can be a resource and a guide to helping at risk black males to find more positive things to do with their time. As a black male, barriers seem to always be in the way of us progressing from one level to the next. I want young black males to know that if they push themselves, surround themselves with positivity, want more out of life than what they currently have, and want to be successful then it starts with being a good person and making good decisions that will propel them forward and not backward, while also being a great student.  

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your passion for Social Work?
I want to be a productive member of society.  I want to be a role model.  Social work gives me the inspiration I need to help people when they might feel that no one cares and that there is no hope at the end of their dark tunnel.  I want to be able to be a light for those people.

A few sentences about your HHP/ECU experience or what ECU means to you.
I am a senior in the BSW program.  I transferred to ECU after my freshman year at a different university.  My mother graduated with her Bachelors and Masters degrees from ECU.  For me, ECU is like being at home. I grew up coming to the university whenever I wanted to for baseball or basketball games or to just walk around the campus. Being an actual student at ECU has felt really surreal. I have enjoyed my undergraduate experience and hope to soon begin my Masters degree on my way to getting my MSW.

Do you have any words of advice for prospective and/or current students?
I would tell any incoming students that ECU is a good school. Get out and meet people. Be social. Get involved if you can. Go to games and have fun. I would also say do not get behind with your assignments and try not to wait until the last minute to write papers.  Meet with your advisor and ask questions!