A proud Buffalo native, Shawnte Wilson, MSW '12 earned a bachelor’s degree in English/Spanish at Canisius College. She then took a job at an agency working with adults with learning disabilities. After that positive experience, she decided to explore her options for a career in the helping professions. She turned to the School of Social work. “It was through that professional experience that I realized I could have a professional career helping people,” she said. “My parents equipped me with strong values regarding helping others. Not only was I raised doing this, it’s also something I enjoy and that makes me happy.”
The UBSSW’s trauma-informed human rights perspective, with its emphasis on community social work, spoke to Wilson’s intuitiveness when it comes to determining the most effective way to assist others.
Now a social work professional, she continues to advocate for this compassionate approach in the field: “Many people look at the clients I work with and wonder what’s wrong with them, but the UBSSW has taught me to ask instead what has happened to them,” she said. “As a result, I am able to better equip my staff during trainings and to personally refocus myself and others during a crisis.”
Wilson is currently a senior residential supervisor at People, Inc. “I really enjoy my job,” she said. “It’s a home-like atmosphere, where I feel like everyone is extended family.” She oversees a staff of 12 who care for six adults with learning disabilities. In addition, she conducts staff training on interacting with clients and advocating for those clients within the professional environment and the community.
A strong supporter of the SSW, Wilson also spends her time in the area of recruiting, assisting Kathryn Kendall, senior assistant dean for enrollment and online programs, at informational sessions and attending graduate fairs. There, Wilson talks with undergraduate students and professionals about the benefits of attending UB School of Social Work. “UB is very loyal to its students,” she said. “There are tons of opportunities to develop professionally if you take advantage of what the school has to offer — you definitely will not regret it.”