For Immediate Release

Contact:Deborah Gilleran

Georgian Court Senior Fulfilling Dream to Change the World

Lakewood, N.J., Nov. 26, 2007—Twenty-three-year-old Georgian Court University senior Michanya Rickets is living her dream to affect lasting change in the world—specifically, area children.

“I am making a difference,” she says warmly. “I always wanted to do something to help people. I know it sounds cliché, but I want to help. Working for DYFS [Department of Youth and Family Services] allows me to do that.”

Ms. Rickets, a social work major from Manchester Township, is the recipient of a Baccalaureate Child Welfare Education Program (BCWEP) grant, which pays for her tuition while allowing her to get hands-on experience working for DYFS. The Jamaican-born student also receives a $5,200 stipend per year, which she says has lifted the financial burden for her and her family.

“I’m so grateful—this is such a help financially. I am not from a wealthy family and the fact that I don’t have to take another loan is great,” she says. “In addition, I get the experience working in the field and a job after I graduate. So many college grads end up with no job.”

“Michanya went through a rigorous application process that was offered to all Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) students who were interested in a child welfare senior field education placement and were willing to work in child welfare for two years after graduation,” says Linda Klee-Mueller, Ph.D., assistant professor and coordinator of B.S.W. field education in GCU’s Department of Social Work and BCWEP academic program coordinator.

In accepting the grant, all recipients must also agree to work with DYFS for two years after their graduation. According to Dr. Klee-Mueller, the program is designed to prepare undergraduate social work students for careers in public child welfare, and is intended to enhance the public child welfare workforce by encouraging social work students to enter professional positions in New Jersey public child welfare agencies. Georgian Court University is one of seven institutions in the BCWEP consortium, each collaborating with the New Jersey Office of Children’s Services.

But receiving the grant is both a blessing and a burden for Ms. Rickets.

“Sometimes it’s difficult when you go into a home and see certain conditions, and have to take children out of certain environments to protect them. But then you look at the other side where you are helping the families to become stable—to get families back together,” she says. “Reunification—that’s the goal.”

Andy Williams, spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Children’s Services, says that Ms. Rickets is one of 73 BCWEP grant recipients this year.

For more information about the social work programs at Georgian Court University, contact Dr. Klee-Mueller at 732.987.2396.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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