It’s always nice to hear a success story, right? Well, success is definitely something that comes to mind when hearing about the post-graduation life of a Walden University alumna—Dr. Janice Hawkins. Dr. Hawkins graduated from Walden University in 2013 with a doctorate in Public Policy and Administration. She has experience in child welfare in New York City, and has worked in diverse positions from caseworker up to administration. Since graduation, she has been involved with many organizations and presented at several conferences.
Dr. Hawkins saw speaking at conferences as a way to nationally establish herself professionally. National and Regional conferences typically turn out guests and members from all across the country. Being able to present your research or papers at one of these events is definitely a great way to get your name out there and let your voice be heard.
In addition to establishing herself professionally, Dr. Hawkins really wanted to affect social change. She felt that there needed to be more understanding between clients and those who write the policies affecting those clients. She started out by doing workshops for parents at local public schools and then began presenting at various conferences. She has given presentations on many topics including: “What To Do When Children Protective Services Knocks on Your Door?” and “Is Social Welfare Best Practice for Children as Fueled or Deterred by Outside Influences such as the Media?”
Dr. Hawkins is presenting at the National Association of Social Workers National Conference in Washington, D.C. this summer. Her topic is “Social Work and Developing Effective Advocacy in Your Social Work Practice.” When asked about her presentation, Dr. Hawkins said, “Effective advocates can influence public policy, laws and budgets by using facts, their relationships, the media, and messaging to educate government officials and the public on the changes they want to bring for their families. My talk is about how can we do this.”
Are you interested in presenting at a conference? Well, Dr. Hawkins has some advice for you! She mentioned that the following things will be helpful:
- Get on the mailing lists of any organizations or groups that are in your interest area.
- Write, write, write comments, blogs, letters to the editor, columns, books. This helps establish you as an expert in your area.
- Join at least one professional organization.
- Go to workshops when you can to familiarize yourselves with how they run.
- Be open to doing “freebies.”
For more ideas on ways to impact positive social change, view the Career Services Center archived webinars in the Social Change Series.
Written by Samantha Shore, Walden Career Services Center Intern