Social Work Spotlight: Meet Student Research Assistant Nicholas Alexander

Nicholas Alexander smilingFor Nicholas Alexander, working as a Student Research Assistant at the Center for Social Work Research has helped spark his passion for research and impacted the student he is today. Nicholas started out as a student at Wayne County Community College and transferred to Wayne State in 2018. He is currently a BSW senior and plans to move straight into the MSW advanced standing program with an I-CPL concentration focusing on leadership and community development.

Why did you choose to work at WSU?

I love research for the "why". Being able to work behind the curtain on many projects is an irreplaceable experience. Working at WSU also allows flexibility while obtaining my degrees. Being a team member at the research center puts me ahead of the curve in terms of research knowledge compared to my fellow classmates.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

For me personally, coworkers make or break a job. The people that I work with are the nicest people; everybody is very flexible and understanding.

How did your education prepare you for what you are doing today?

The biggest lesson I learned from both community college and Wayne State, is that to make impactful change you have to be patient.

What's one of the biggest mistakes you made as a student?

Not placing enough value on myself and focusing too much on schoolwork. It's better to get a B/C and understand the material than all A's and not have learned anything. Don't overload yourself with multiple commitments for resume sake; focus on 1-2 major things you care about.

Do you have any advice for incoming students?

One best friend is better than casually knowing 10 people you sat by freshman year. You should live on campus at least one semester, and take electives outside of your major. Learn to advocate for yourself, but remember that professors are people too.

How can students learn more about research opportunities in the School?

The School has two Centers with faculty, staff and students dedicated to research, the Center for Social Work Research and the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice. In 2010 we developed the Social Work Student Research Community, which was specifically designed to provide opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty on current research projects, attend professional development events and have access to online resources that guide them through the research process. Students interested in learning more can self-enroll in the SWSRC Canvas site or they can contact Kendra Wells at

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