First-generation Wayne State student earns MSW to pursue career path helping children

Renee Singleton is proud to be a first-generation graduate.

“When I spoke to my family about returning to school to receive my master’s degree, they were proud, elated, and supportive! I chose Wayne State’s School of Social Work because it is close to my hometown. It is also one of the top programs for social work in Michigan, and many of my peers graduated from the same program I’m currently in,” Singleton said. Singleton will earn her MSW degree at the December 16th Commencement ceremony held at the Wayne State Field House.

Renee SingletonDuring her journey at Wayne State University, Singleton was influenced by faculty member, Nicolette Doto.

“I took her SW 8355 class, ‘Family Interventions in Social Work Practice.’ She was passionate about working with clients, assisting them with what they needed, and even helped me in my time of need,” she said.

Singleton also found a mentor/therapist with the assistance of WSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) program.

“She has her master's in social work and helped guide me with what I wanted to do with my career. She also kept me uplifted during the challenging times throughout school,” she said.

Before she received her bachelor’s in social work, Singleton volunteered at two different high schools, mentoring young Black girls.

“When I opened up to them about my experiences, they immediately felt comfortable speaking to me about their experiences and topics that they wanted help with. That started my drive to help young children and young adults. I currently work with children on the spectrum, and always strive to see a smile or a laugh because having fun while learning can help retain the information given,” she said.

While at WSU Singleton interned at St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Detroit.

“They were very welcoming when I first started my internship. My supervisor and the other staff helped tremendously when I needed assistance when doing intake paperwork or general questions with assigned tasks,” she said.

As for future career plans, Singleton hopes to become a school social worker or any related field that helps with children's mental or physical health and would like to travel as a social worker if possible.

Renee Singleton with her dog“A few long-term goals are to network with other social workers to gain more knowledge and explore and earn more certificates under my name. I do not have many short-term goals, but my main goal is to start my career path after graduating,” she said.

Outside of social work she likes trying new restaurants in the Metro-Detroit area, cooking, crafting, reading, and playing with her dog.

“I would like to give a personal thanks to everybody that has helped me on this journey. Being a first-generation graduate, and not having many people to ask for assistance in situations, I appreciate the motivational talks that we have had and the guidance that you have given me to help with my career,” she said.

Author: Laura Hipshire; Editor: Betsy Vanderstelt

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