local women earn social work degrees
Students are granted acceptance into the Social Work Program based on criteria such as grade point averages, desires to pursue a social work career, experiences in human service and the recommendations of others. These four women showed obvious proficiency in all of these areas. During their senior year students are required to complete 400 hours at a designated social work internship site, along with their other mandatory courses and college commitments. There is also an on campus honor society, Phi Alpha Nu Chi, specifically for students majoring in Social Work. LCSC’s chapter is an affiliation for students who have obtained a GPA above 3.25 in their Social Work courses. Kim, Cheryl, Rachel and Chelsea all should feel proud to have been eligible for a commendable membership such as this.
Sister Kim Marie Jordan began her senior year at LCSC soon after her Perpetual Monastic Profession which took place on March 10, 2012. She says she finds a connection between social work and the Monastery of St. Gertrude’s vision statement: Prayer Awakens. Justice Impels. Compassion Acts. Thy Kingdom Come. “Our vision statement is really what social work is all about,” explains Sister Kim Marie. She has been calling Cottonwood her home for about 10 years. The contributions she has made possible for the Lewis-Clark State College Social Work program are ultimately priceless. Through her dedication to the profession and her passion for social justice, one of the most unique bonds has been established. LCSC - a public college now has a matchless relationship with the Monastery of St. Gertrude - a private, Catholic convent. Sister Kim Marie’s efforts have created scholarship opportunity for LCSC Social Work students. When Dr. William Clouser, whom upholds the positions of Chair of LCSC’s Social Science Division, LCSC’s Social Work program Director, and Social Work Professor learned more about the idea of the scholarships this plan went into action. With Kim’s membership on the Monastery’s Peace and Justice Committee she was able to perform extensive collaboration which ultimately gave opportunities for selected students to enhance their knowledge and skills regarding existing social justice issues. Sister Kim Marie is a remarkable student and an incredible role model for her peers and colleagues. She is a mother of two and a friend to all. She completed her practicum hours at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. Upon completion of her internship she was also offered employment. Sister Kim Marie will be furthering her education at the Boise State University Advanced Standing Master of Social Work Program which is accomplished through 11 months of evening courses which are held on the LCSC campus. Kim’s resiliency and enthusiasm are both characteristics which will lead her to success wherever the path of social work may lead her in the future.
Cheryl Gimmeson’s experience in the Social Work Program was busy and demanding; a student without Cheryl’s organizational skills and commitment to his/her college obligations would have floundered in the chaos. Cheryl made the commute from Cottonwood to Lewiston to fulfill her various roles as mother, student, friend, peer, club president, grandmother and child welfare intern. Considering the 55 miles that stood between success and her various life responsibilities, Cheryl was unbelievably triumphant. Her devotion to her education was obvious. Not only did she sustain an admirable GPA; she also upheld an important leadership position as the president of the campus club Student Organization of Social Workers. This position increased Cheryl’s workload and added pressure to her career as a student. However, it did not hinder her ability to thrive as a student. She spent her final year in the Social Work program interning with Children and Family Services in Grangeville. This agency focuses on topics related to child protection, adoptions and foster care. Child Welfare is projected to be one of the most stressful and challenging areas of the Social Work field. Cheryl planned and arranged the 2012 Christmas Party for children in Foster Care, which turned out to be very successful. The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. Regardless of the course exams, final papers, and other end of semester responsibilities, she was able to organize and host a fun and enjoyable party. Some of her peers often referred to her as their second mother. She has a compassion for helping people which will positively contribute to any career she may uphold in the years to come. Cheryl will also be taking steps towards another chapter in her life by furthering her education with the Boise State Master of Social Work Program.
The Camas Prairie was fortunate enough to also have another LCSC student practicing their social work skills there. Rachel Kaschmitter completed her practicum at Prairie High School. In 2009 she graduated from PHS with the aspiration of obtaining a career in the field of Social Work. Through her four years at LCSC she has received the education and understanding to turn that dream into a reality. Rachel was granted one of the three available $500 Social Justice Scholarships through St. Gertrude’s. The upper classmen majoring in Social Work were eligible to submit an application for the scholarship. Students applying have a passion for social justice. With achievement of this scholarship Rachel, along with the two other recipients, were given the opportunity to concentrate their education track on issues related to social justice. Rachel was expected to share the information and knowledge regarding social justice which she gained through her studies and research at conferences and workshops over the duration of her senior year. In November, Rachel had the chance to participate in the Council on Social Work Education’s Conference which took place in Washington D.C. In February Rachel and her cohorts were part of the National Association of Social Workers Legislative Advocacy Days in Boise at the State’s Capitol Building. Rachel conducted research throughout her senior year on issues related to hunger. Her project was presented at the Lewis-Clark State College Senior Research Symposium. Rachel was a student who was committed to her course requirements, scholarship obligations and also her classmates. She brought a sense of optimism to her peers with her positive attitude and jovial sense of humor. Rachel’s smile and laughter lit up even the most stressful and downbeat rooms. Her light heartedness is going to be missed by many as she leaves the Lewiston Valley as a new fiancé and licensed Social Worker to follow her Social Work career path.
Chelsea Long is also a Prairie High School class of 2009 graduate who attended LCSC for the last four years. On her first day on campus Chelsea was offered employment as an office assistant in the Social Science Division and Social Work offices. Being subjected to this type of work environment where interactions with the faculty members were both as coworker and also professor was a beneficial way to experience a sense of dual relationships which may be encountered in future careers. With this type of inside-view of how the divisions and campus operated, Chelsea relayed what knowledge she could to her fellow club members and classmates to help assist with the arrangement and organization of events. Chelsea’s office coworkers also deemed her as the unofficial graphic designer of the division. Through her artistic creativity she fashioned an immeasurable amount of advertising materials such as bulletin boards, flyers and pamphlets for many faculty members and club advisors. At the 2013 LCSC Senior Banquet, Chelsea was presented with the honor of the Social Science Division Student of the Year Award. Each division on campus annually selects one student as their “Student of the Year”, and these students are then recognized during the graduation celebrations. She was selected from approximately ninety graduates for the 2012-2013 year. Chelsea’s cohorts chose her as a nominee due to her grade point average, contribution to her college, program, classmates and the community. Her professors believed she was an exemplary role model for other students. During her senior year she completed her internship with Children and Family Services in Lewiston. This practicum provided first-hand insight to what a career in Social Work, specifically Child Welfare, would be like. Chelsea will also be joining her two fellow Cottonwood-Classmates on the path of higher education by working towards achieving her Master’s degree.
All graduates of the LCSC Social Work Program are talented and strong-minded. However, these four bright, determined individuals specifically have something that their peers do not. They strongly share common values and principles which have been fostered by the Cottonwood Community. They are wonderful representatives of Cottonwood and many people who are proud of their accomplishments. Congratulations to all who graduated in 2013; especially Kim, Cheryl, Rachel and Chelsea. Best wishes and good luck with your futures!
Clockwise from lower left are Cheryl Gimmeson, Sr. Kim Marie Jordan, Chelsea Long and Rachel Kaschmitter.