Better together: VCU graduate students make a lasting impact on the local community and vice versa
In the crowds of ecstatic family and friends at recent VCU School of Social Work commencement ceremonies, one of the most enthusiastic well-wishers has attended in an almost official capacity. Andrea Wiley, director of clinical services at Rubicon, a Richmond-based provider of chemical dependency treatment services, is always in the audience, cheering loudly for the former Rubicon interns among the newest graduates.
“They may as well be my own children the way I’m up there screaming at them and embarrassing them,” Wiley said. “But I want them to know how much I appreciate what they’ve done for us.”
By necessity, graduate students in certain disciplines at VCU head off-campus into the broader community to study, conduct research and work in their chosen fields. The students give as much as they get. Their classroom learning crystallizes when exposed to the elements of real-world practice, while their searching, eager efforts benefit a range of organizations, neighborhoods and individuals. Their participation with local businesses, schools, governments and other groups occurs in a variety of areas, ranging from health care to social work and education.