Maria Dixon: Working to be advocate for others

Maria Dixon will be the student speaker at the Summer Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m. She is graduating with a B.A. in Social Work, magna cum laude, and a Certificate in Gerontology.

Hometown: St. Michael, Barbados

What’s next?

I will be earning a Master of Social Work degree at The University of Akron, beginning this fall.

Q: What is your ultimate career goal?

A: As a geriatric social worker, I want to work at a macro level. Working with the older population has always been a passion for me. This area would allow me to focus on policies and advocating for this population. My end point is to move back to Barbados and establish an Adult Day Center offering multiple services, such as grief counseling and social services.

Q: Did you do an internship or co-op? How did that help you prepare for a career? 

A: I completed three internships at Mature Services (Avenues to Recovery). These were for the social work degree, the gerontology certificate and the minor in addiction. The services provided at the agency were for older adults with addictions. This was a unique situation that allowed me to demonstrate and hone the specific skill sets needed for all three of these disciplines.

Q: Best advice you ever got from a professor?

A: In one of my first courses on campus, Charlene Kemp-Queener (an academic adviser and assistant lecturer) shared with me the experience of being an active participant in your own destiny. In other words, be fully involved in the journey you are about to embark on.