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Student Spotlight

  • Brittany Bosley

    Brittany Bosley

    I'm originally from St Joseph not too far from Champaign. I got my undergraduate degree at UIUC in psychology back in 2014. I've worked at CVS in a pharmacy, in banking and now currently at FedEx Office. I've continued to be interested in mental health but wanted to save up money before applying to grad school. All the turmoil of 2020 made me realize now was the best time to take that next step into grad school so I can start moving forward towards helping people. To unwind after a long day of work I play video games. For self-care I do yoga about 20- 40 minutes a day. I look forward to learning again and becoming part of and giving back to the community here in Bloomington Normal.

  • Sara Brower

    Sara Brower

    I call Washington, Il home, but had a lot of traveling adventures when I was younger. I always knew that I wanted to be in helping profession, but I had children young, and my focus was there, so I was unable to finish my degree until I was a bit older. I obtained my B.A. in Psychology this past June but felt that Social Work offered the opportunity to serve people in a way that was more aligned with my personal values. After I obtain my MSW I intend to obtain my license and practice as an LCSW and work with non-profit agencies working with homeless populations. Eventually I would like to obtain my PhD, teach, and research. In my downtime I love to read, hike, and take long walks. I am looking forward to being part of the community we are building at Illinois State!

  • Sophie Burnett

    Sophie Burnett

    Hi! My name is Sophie, and I grew up in Springfield, Illinois. My undergrad years were amazing at ISU! I graduated with my bachelor’s in social work this past year and I loved the program. I am excited to begin the School Social Work program in order to become an elementary school social worker. I enjoy watching TV shows and movies on Netflix in my free time, which also doubles as my self-care. Taking time to relax is very important to me! I wanted to say at Illinois State for grad school because of how much I enjoyed the social work bachelors’ program. I learned so much and figured it would be perfect to transition right into grad school!

  • Kierra Daniels

    Kierra Daniels

    I grew up on the south side of Chicago and when I was younger, I loved going to the candy stores by my grandmother’s house. My favorite hobbies include spending time with my family, doing volunteer work with children, and dancing. I recently graduated from Western Illinois University in May and I currently have a degree in Social Work. I want to learn everything there is to know about School social work in the MSW program. When I was applying to colleges ISU was one of my top choices because of the environment, diversity, and education provided here. I'm really looking forward to meeting new people, creating bonds, gaining knowledge, choosing what direction I want to go in with my degree, and becoming prepared for my social work career.

  • Zari Gary

    Zari Gary

    Hi, my name is Zari Gary (it rhymes). I earned a BSW here at ISU and graduated in 2019. Currently, I'm employed at Heartland Head Start (a preschool) as a Family Resource Advocate. I am a 1st year graduate student with a focus in School Social Work!

  • Kali George

    Kali George

    My name is Kali George, and I am excited to begin my first year of graduate school in the MSW program at ISU. I previously attended Eureka College where I received my bachelor's degree in psychology. I am currently on a four-year track to graduate in 2025! Prior to beginning school, I worked in mental health where I grew a passion for counseling and helping others. My goals after graduation include serving underprovided populations, and to later pursue work in private practice. We are currently getting ready to welcome a baby boy in October, and I am looking forward to becoming a mom and sharing memories with our growing family.

  • Noah Hickcox

    Noah Hickcox

    I am a transfer student from the University of Minnesota, I play on the football team here at ISU and I am excited to get going to help shape the lives of young people in the future!

  • Shannon Hines

    Shannon Hines

    I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. I am adventurous, one philosophy I have for life is I'll try anything twice. Also, I enjoy traveling and am hoping to plan a trip where I can go sky diving and jump off a cliff into the ocean.

  • Emily Hudomiet

    Emily Hudomiet

    Hello! My name is Emily Hudomiet. I received my Bachelors in Acting from Northern Illinois University in 2018, and I went on to work in the community acting in community theaters. I found myself working in chiropractic clinics all around the suburbs of Chicago when I realized I wanted to help people more than I could behind a desk. After lots of talks, back and forth, and worrying, I realized that I had to pursue my passion. As an adopted child, my goal is to be there for children who felt like me growing up; this drive brought me to ISU to pursue my passion for Social Work. I am thrilled to be in the Master of Social Work program and am excited to participate in my new community.

  • Valerie Jefferson

    Valerie Jefferson

    I was born and raised in the City of Chicago. I am a first-generation student, and I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Illinois State University December of 2020. After receiving my MSW, I would ultimately like to counsel individuals from all ages and backgrounds. I would like to start off working in the academic setting, preferably a high school, being a mental health counselor for students and helping improve the student, teacher, and family relationship. I love spending time with family and coffee shops. I wanted to become a Redbird ever since I came to ISU on a high school college tour. I decided to continue in my redbird legacy because of the amazing support and resources I gained, which assured me that I would be in great hands as I Continued my educational career. I look forward to gaining all of the knowledge and practice that will aid me in the social work profession, meeting more acquaintances, mentors, sponsors, and life-long friends, and seeing my growth and development as a student and future professional.

  • Bryanna Kaminski

    Bryanna Kaminski

    I grew up in the Milwaukee area (Waukesha, WI), graduated from ISU with my Bachelors in Parks and Recreation Administration in 2018, and completed a two-year internship in the non-profit sector which ultimately led to my decision to pursue my MSW. I am very interested in working in a clinical setting (maybe a hospital or specific medical unit) but am also open to exploring other sectors. I enjoy traveling, running, taking my dog hiking, and spending time with people close to me. I chose to get my master’s at ISU because I loved my time here during undergrad, and I was already very familiar with the school and what they have to offer. I look forward to connecting with my peers and teachers in the MSW program!

  • Charlotte Maynen

    Charlotte Maynen

    My name is Charlotte. I completed my undergrad at Illinois State University in 2015. My major was Sociology. I've worked as a Medical/Legal Advocate at the YWCA Stepping Stones, and for a brief period I was a Correctional Officer at the McLean County Jail. With my Masters, I would like to earn an LCSW and provide therapeutic counseling to survivors of trauma. I look forward to getting back to learning at ISU. I've been out of school for 6 years now and I miss being a student.

  • Justine Reents

    Justine Reents

    I grew up in Wilmington, Il. It is a small rural town of only 5,000 people, it is about an hour South of Chicago. I am an ISU alumnus, and I am very excited to still be a part of the Redbird family! I was a part of the BSW program here on campus and I just graduated in May of 2021. I worked in a daycare this past Summer since graduating and I am currently working as a Curriculum Services GA in the Julia N. Visor Center. I want to eventually be a school social worker in an elementary school. My hobbies include exercising, hanging out with friends, watching Tik Tok and drinking ICED coffee! I wanted to come back to ISU to get my master’s because I had such a good experience as a BSW student. I loved my classmates, instructors, campus life and just the overall support I felt I had from everyone in the major. They really do care about your future and want you to succeed as a social worker. I am looking forward to making some new friends in this cohort.

  • Hannah Sellmyer

    Hannah Sellmyer

    Hi! My name is Hannah, I studied English in my undergrad program at Illinois State. I graduated in the winter of 2018 and have been working in a pharmacy post-graduation. I'm interested in working with children and folks with disabilities, as well as working to combat food insecurity. I regularly volunteer with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project and I am a founding member of the BloNo DSA Socialist Feminist Caucus. I'm looking forward to making new friends and connections at ISU and gaining more perspective on how to best serve my community.

  • Cassandra Steele

    Cassandra Steele

    I grew up with a stepmom and grandmother who were both social workers. While I never intended to become a social worker myself, it seems have found me anyway. I have an B.A. and M.A. in anthropology and worked off and on as an archaeologist since 2011. I also was a middle school science and history teacher before finally coming to the conclusion that the things I loved most about teaching were not academia but teaching students skills for living a wholehearted life. I chose ISU's MSW program because it is best program to prepare me to work as a therapist working with veterans and their families. I have spent nearly a decade in the IL Army National Guard, and I want to finish my military career advising policy on proactive mental health care for service members.

  • Deanna Stewart

    Deanna Stewart

    My name is Deanna Stewart. I am from the Southside of Chicago. I graduated from ISU in May of 2020 with a B.A. in Acting. I made the decision to study Social Work to continue my grandmother's legacy and create change in disenfranchised communities like the one I grew up in. I previously worked at a non-traditional high school serving underrepresented, vulnerable youth. As their Community Service Coordinator, I realized I wanted to commit my career to serving and creating change. I look forward to learning and growing as a social worker! For self-care, I often go on social media breaks to allow myself time to be mindful and present with myself and my surroundings. I love to clean and organize my home as a form of self-care. Finally, I love to sing, dance and do other things that put me in a creative headspace. As a graduate student, I look forward to the many accomplishments and lessons along this journey. I'm blessed to have another chance to learn, grow and become a vessel to promote resilience and social change amongst our youth!

  • Erin Thompson

    Erin Thompson

    My name is Erin. I did my undergrad in social work at ISU. I am from Normal, and I can often be found writing at a local coffee shop or going for a walk on the trail. For self-care I love to interact with animals, and I love to journal. Some fun facts about me are that I am an identical twin, and I went to Montana this summer to see Yellowstone Park! My picture is of me at one of my favorite waterfalls there.

  • Kathleen Tomczewski

    Kathleen Tomczewski

    Hi! I am so excited to continue my journey within the Social Work field by obtaining my MSW. I received my BSW from ISU in 2019 and have gained a tremendous amount of experience with my degree. I spent the better half of the last two years working in a substance use and mental health inpatient facility in Champaign. I completed full admissions, worked on goals with clients and facilitated several biopsychosocial groups. When it was time to focus on getting back into the groove of being a student, I transitioned into working at the domestic violence shelter in Bloomington-Normal answering hotline calls and providing DV education and residential care. With my MSW, I hope to work within the community to better advocate for community needs, provide direct individual care and help develop/strengthen community programs. I chose ISU for my MSW because of the great professors and classes I had while obtaining my BSW. I credit the experience and education I gained throughout my BSW as a top reason I was able to transition into working within the field with ease. I look forward to catching up with those I know and getting to know those who will be with me throughout this adventure. When I am not focusing on school and work, you can catch me dragging my fiancé to every new restaurant that has and will open in Bloomington-Normal. I also enjoy walking on the constitution trail, painting, watching Lord of the Rings (the extended versions of course) and Harry Potter on repeat, cooking, and loving on my two furry felines Mocha and Cocoa.

  • Cassandra Torrisi

    Cassandra Torrisi

    Hi! I'm Cassandra but I go by Cassie. I grew up in Freeport IL where I have lived my entire life, not many people know of the town but may have heard of our funky mascot the Pretzel! I had a wonderful Undergraduate experience. I first obtained my associates degree from a community college in my hometown in a year and a half, and then transferred to Illinois state to get my Bachelor of Psychology in a year and a half as well. Being able to get my bachelor’s degree in a total of three years or something I am super proud of! Because I graduated a semester early, I spent my semester off working as a full-time substitute at a local elementary school in my hometown. I know substitute has a different meaning everywhere you go but my position was really fun as I got to interact with every kid in the school well also get a shadow our social worker. I have a border collie Australian Shepherd mix pup at home who is actually my ESA animal. One of my favorite things to do is take him for walks and play with him it really calms me down and helps me feel grounded. I also really enjoy cooking and doing yoga as they're just real stress relievers for me. I really enjoyed my undergrad time at Illinois state even though it was cut pretty sure because of Covid. So, with the time that I now have back I really want to try to make the most of it!

  • Yaa Adubia Yeboah

    Yaa Adubia Yeboah

    I'm from Ghana, Africa and I grew up in one of its town, Berekum. I have a bachelor’s degree in human resource management in 2013. I have a proven record of working with culturally diverse teams while consistently meeting individuals’ targets. I'm a social work volunteer for the past 20 years and I love to use my skills to teach, motivate and promote health (primary health promotion). I see it as a great opportunity be a Redbird. I will share my experiences over the years and learn to improve myself; I'll adopt the best practices of the social work profession so as to serve the society better.