Amazing Students Profiles

Joanne Quinn

Joanne Quinn

Joanne is receiving her master of social work degree from the School of Social Work; together with her daughter, mentioned separately, the Quinns prove UGA can be a family affair.


Chicago, Illinois

Degree objective:

Master of Social Work

Expected graduation:

May 2011

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

As a non-traditional graduate student, I have enjoyed learning from a different perspective, after having worked in social services for 16+ years, the past 12 being an adoption caseworker. While in graduate school, I’ve most enjoyed getting to know my fellow students, usually over lunch. It’s been a pleasure learning because my professors have a breadth of professional experience as well as knowledge of the field. My classmates’ varied interests and knowledge also add to my learning.

Some of the highlights during my return to school have included being competitively selected for the IV-E Child Welfare Education Stipend, which pays for my two-years of tuition (a federally-funded program to recruit, educate and prepare students for a career in public child welfare working with children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect and their families); publication of a paper with an additional one anticipated; completion of an summer internship at the Office of the Child Advocate to examine the policy side of Georgia’s child welfare system; and participation in the UGA Emerging Leaders Program.

The rewards have been tremendous for me and include learning new ways of thinking and problem-solving, becoming excited about social welfare policies and their effects, digging into a topic and examining it from different angles (e.g. capital punishment in the U.S., how it affects families of the offender, how the death penalties in the U.S. and China compare), and meeting incredible classmates and professors who bring their unique gifts and interests to the field of social work.

Current Employment:

Full-time student and contract adoptions worker

Family Ties to UGA:

My family have been UGA supporters for several years now, as my husband works in the infectious disease department of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. Sarah, of course, is graduating with me in May, and our younger daughter also is a UGA student.  Our son is a Georgia Tech graduate and doing well in Pittsburgh, pursuing his doctorate in Computational Biology at Carnegie Mellon. A family tradition is for my husband and son to attend the Ga. – Ga. Tech football game – and we are happy with either side’s victory.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…UGA is a wonderful place to pursue the MSW degree because of its strong reputation in the field as well as the Athens Community Connection and the proximity to metro Atlanta, with all the services available for people in need.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…run into my two girls while walking across campus, stop by my husband’s office, or have lunch with fellow classmates.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…go back to college at the same time my children were in college!

My favorite place to study is…

…anywhere with my fellow MSW students. Their eagerness to learn, serve and excel is contagious and inspiring to be around.

My favorite professor is…

… I have several favorite professors because of their warmth, knowledge, humor and ability to teach. I especially admire Dr. June Hopps. She takes social welfare policy, which sounds boring, and deciphers world events through that lens, examining its effects on various populations.  She starts every class with the question, “What’s policy got to do with it?”  We students answer, “Everything!”

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

…my husband!  With all this commuting, classwork, internships and children in college, we are like ships passing in the night!

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

: …I would open up a bakery/restaurant that would be a training place for unemployed people transitioning off welfare and into independence.

After graduation, I plan to…

…spend some time with my family on a much-needed vacation before starting to work. I plan to pursue becoming a licensed MSW and work in child welfare.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… my orientation day and seeing the enthusiasm of the professors as they explained their programs and areas of expertise. One professor in particular advised our incoming class to take full advantage of the opportunities offered at UGA. I wish I had more time to experience additional opportunities, but I will graduate with a much fuller understanding and awareness of social work in people’s lives.