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UT Graduate has ‘Dream Job’ Thanks to Philanthropy

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K.C. Lawrence

Photo of Nesan, Rohan, and K.C. Lawrence courtesy of the Lawrence family.

My name is K.C. Lawrence, and I am a social worker. Even though it’s been three years since I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with my master’s of social work, I am still amazed that I can say that sentence. It is a concrete expression of my dreams come to fruition. I work with older adults, and I am the program director for the Early Memory Loss Support Program at AGE of Central Texas. It’s my dream job, and I have arrived here thanks to the UT School of Social Work and the generosity of its donors.

In the 10 years after I received my undergraduate degree in business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I worked as a legal assistant in a large corporate law firm, as a cook in small French restaurants, and in investment management as a manager and analyst. Regardless of my field, my primary job satisfaction stemmed from mentoring and helping the person directly in front of me. I found myself drawn to volunteering with the elderly, visiting hospice patients and teaching a cooking class at an assisted-living facility. I decided to go back to school to focus on this passion, and I was elated when I was accepted to UT’s School of Social Work.

During my time at UT, I was honored to be a recipient of the Sylvia Shapiro Scholarship, which Sidney S. Smith endowed in memory of his cousin in 1985. The scholarship supports undergraduate or graduate social work students participating in an internship or field practicum, with an emphasis on work with the frail and elderly.

UT provided amazing opportunities for me to explore my passions. In my classes and many group projects, I truly appreciated the diverse students who I learned from every day. In my field internship at a skilled nursing facility, I co-facilitated a six-week women’s reminiscence group. I was amazed when, after the final meeting, the residents expressed how the group had helped them. I learned more from them than I think they learned from me. This is only one of many profound experiences I had during my time at UT, and I am a better person because of them.

After graduating, I continued to learn about challenges facing seniors at a large nursing facility in Dallas and then at a home health company in Austin. I was beyond thrilled to recently join AGE of Central Texas. Only five years ago I was dreaming of the job I have now, and I am in awe that I get to come to work here every day. Only through the excellence of the education provided at UT and the generosity of the Sylvia Shapiro Scholarship has it been possible for me to obtain the education I needed to follow my dreams.

This is why I choose to pay it forward and support university fundraising efforts like 40 Hours for the Forty Acres. I also continue to be involved at the UT School of Social Work as a member of the Social Work Alumni Board. I feel it is important that alumni remain involved with the school as field instructors, mentors, and philanthropists. As I know firsthand, it is only through the generosity of others that students are able to pursue their dreams.

As a social worker, it’s important to me to give back to the school that has supported me and been the pathway to the fulfillment of my dreams. I feel that it is the least I can do for a school that has given me so many opportunities and so much enthusiastic encouragement. I give annually because it helps me feel connected to the school and that I am doing something to support current students. I know that my donation, no matter how small, helps the university, the place that has given me so much.

K.C. Lawrence is a social work graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.

Check out more student and alumni stories: Eduardo’s story; Marisa’s story

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