New Ph.D. graduate Shenita Williams brings school social work experience to role as assistant professor
Shenita Williams, Ph.D., brings plenty of practical experience to her new role as an assistant professor in teaching in the VCU School of Social Work – not to mention a VCU perspective as a three-time graduate and newly minted doctor of education.
Dr. Williams (B.S.W.’93/SW; M.S.W.’95/SW; Ph.D.’22/E) has also served as an adjunct faculty member with the school while working for more than 25 years as a school social worker. In addition, she is a licensed clinical social worker.
“I ultimately want the next generation of social workers to think about the expansive impact of social work,” Dr. Williams says. “I want them to know they have the opportunity to effect change at a micro level, macro level and everything in between by collaborating with professionals in other fields of study, such as educators and people in the medical profession.”
Her desire to become a social worker also stemmed from interactions she witnessed in her family, which has a history of mental health challenges. A social worker helped one of her family members through difficult times. “I was impressed, thankful and grateful,” she says.
One of Dr. Williams’ professor’s in her Ph.D. program, Charol Shakeshaft, Ph.D., says Dr. Williams digs deep and thinks creatively. “She is filled with both wonderment and skepticism,” says Shakeshaft, who is in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership. She adds that Williams will be a “hardworking, questioning powerhouse” at the School of Social Work.