‘We can do this together’: Felicia Smith and daughter Raeven earning M.S.W. degrees
Felicia Smith‘s journey to earning her master’s degree in social work was decades in the making and slowed when she had complications during the pregnancy with her first daughter, Raeven, 26 years ago.
The wait was worth it, as it led to mother and daughter syncing their career paths. And on Friday, May 13, 2022, Felicia and Raeven Smith will walk across the stage at the Siegel Center during the VCU School of Social Work Commencement ceremony and receive their M.S.W. degrees.
Felicia earned her B.S.W. degree from VCU in 2020, and by that time, Raeven was reconsidering her career options after earning a B.S. in psychology and a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies from VCU in 2018.
“So I started doing my research,” Raeven says, “And I was like, ‘I think I’m about this, and I can make this little switch’ – not even a big switch because it’s always kind of been placed in my path. So my mom has been an inspiration toward becoming a social worker. My mom was like, ‘Come on, Raeven, we can do this together. Imagine: We can lean on each other when we need to, and we will both understand what we’re going through together.’ ”
Raeven’s time in the program has affirmed her interest in working one-on-one with LGBTQIA+ individuals after field placements with the YWCA, Advocates for Richmond Youth and Side by Side in Richmond. Felicia plans to take her skills into the nonprofit world, helping veterans experiencing homelessness to connect with the resources they need. Field placements at the United Community in Fairfax, Virginia, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., solidified that interest.
“This has brought us even closer … just to get to really know my daughter and see her in her authentic arena with her friends,” Felicia says, turning to her daughter, “And I guess for you to see me just be Felicia, not Mom.”