Why I Do It

Welcome to “Why I Do It,” a SocialWork@Simmons feature that shines a spotlight on members of our community — from students and faculty to distinguished alumni.

Social work is more than our profession: It is a worldview, and a way of engaging with others and contributing to our communities. We promote social justice by advocating for change. We strive to empower those who feel silenced by oppression or marginalization by listening to their stories. We improve quality of life for our clients by building bridges to community services and support programs. This is what we do. This is how we live.

Our stories are as unique as those of our clients. We were drawn to this work for deeply personal reasons, but with a shared professional mission. Our life stories have made us the social workers we are today.

As members of the SocialWork@Simmons community, our backgrounds are unique, with a shared dedication for our work and for the Simmons School of Social Work. What does social work mean to each of us? Why did we become social workers? Why did we join the SocialWork@Simmons community? “Why I Do It” tells these stories. We will be making regular additions to this collections, so please visit again for more inspiring testimonials.


Kathryn Audette

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

I decided to become a social worker to honor the life and legacy of my son who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 16 months old. Specifically, I became a social worker in order to effectively advocate for those in our society who are most often overlooked so that they might have a voice in order to influence our policymakers. While my passion is advocating for children with special health needs, as a policy practitioner, I also have the opportunity to work on issues that improve the lives of marginalized and oppressed groups such as the working poor and immigrant communities.

Lauren Haynes

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

As cliche as it sounds, I really do have a passion for people. It was actually a woman at an assisted living facility — when I was about 21 — that instructed me never to shake someone’s hand without a little squeeze. “Let them know you are serious,” she told me. To this day, although I am only 5 feet tall, I will not shake a person’s hand without using a little “oomph” at the end just to show I mean business. That experience, along with many others, taught me that although I can assist in empowering another person, taking time to learn about their individual stories and lives is really what empowers me, and that is the most satisfying feeling. No other career allows for that. I spent the last several years working in child welfare full time. I think the most rewarding part is knowing that I am being proactive in a world where so many people have decided, “There’s nothing I can do to help.” Communities are falling apart because there is a mentality of “each man for himself.” Rather than sitting back and watching it unfold I get to be solution-focused, an approach that we practice in social work. And no, I can’t change the whole world, but maybe I can assist a person in changing their world. It’s a rewarding feeling when an individual comes back to you and says, “Look at what I did because of you,” but the look on their face when you say, “Look at what you did — despite all of your trials — because of you.” That is priceless.

Jennifer Clements

Adjunct Professor of Social Work

I took a volunteer job at a domestic violence shelter when I was an undergrad. The director had a social work degree and I loved how she worked side by side with the families to make life changes. I wanted to be a part of a profession that was so empowering. The opportunity to be a part of individuals lives, either one on one or in a group setting, to help them make changes that will impact them forever is one of the great privileges of being a social worker.

Shavon Fulcher

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

I do it because I am capable. I do it because I have a voice for those who do not. I do it because social work is necessary.

Lena Asmar

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

I wanted to pursue a career in social work because of my passion for social justice and desire to impact positive and progressive social change. By being a social work professional, I have been able to take on leadership positions and influence innovation in the field. This includes advocating for, developing, and implementing nontraditional evidence-based programming that promotes compassionate care and treatment for those most impacted by health disparities. I am inspired every day by the clients, staff, and students that I have had the honor to work with and learn from. This is a career where I constantly have new experiences and that keeps it challenging, interesting, and rewarding.


Taylor Johnson

One of my favorite quotes that inspired me as a social worker is from Mother Teresa, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Alexandra Saari

Simply put, I want to help others and I have always had a calling to go into therapy. After all, my name “Alexandra” means “helper of mankind.” One of my favorite psychologists, Carl Rogers, said, “People are just as wonderful as sunsets if I can let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a bit in the right hand corner.’ I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”

Denise Hansen

I’ve known from a young age that many people are born into advantages they haven’t earned, and many people are born into disadvantages through no fault of their own. I’ve seen a lot of people struggle simply because they didn’t know the culture, they didn’t know how to play the rules of the game right to land that scholarship, that study abroad opportunity, that job, or that apartment. I’m interested in making the world a fairer place.

Marian Arceo

My loved ones made their lives one of service. Social work is a way to do that with skill, professionalism, ethics, and the best colleagues. It is my duty to teach that to those that follow me. This is the world and the legacy I leave for my children.

Kimberly Matthews

After practicing law for 20 years, I decided to pursue my MSW to be able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of my clients. Complete client advocacy includes promoting social justice and helping to empower clients to make a meaningful difference in their own lives.

If you’re interested in earning your MSW online and being a part of our caring, supportive community, learn more about SocialWork@Simmons by visiting our academics page, or request more information.