Welcome to our commencement web page!
When the Spring 2020 commencement ceremony at Coleman Coliseum was postponed due to COVID-19, it prompted a deeper look into how we celebrate our students’ accomplishments, and, how we share those stories. The result is this page, which will house feature stories, videos and social media links each commencement cycle, starting with our amazing Spring 2021 grads!
The School of Social Work’s commencement ceremony will be held Friday, April 30 at 3:30 p.m. CDT. More information about tickets, parking and live-case information can be found at UA’s commencement site.
Additionally, we’ve uploaded three awesome profile picture frames on Facebook. Visit our Facebook page and/or search for the “University of Alabama,” “School of Social Work,” and “Commencement 2020.” Tag us w/ #UASocialWorkGrad when you upload your frame to social media, and when you share commencement photos during commencement week.
Past Commencement Coverage
Each semester, we highlight a handful of inspiring graduates who have navigated interesting paths to earning their degrees. From overcoming adversity to finding their passion through research and field placements, these stories are a just a snapshot of our amazing students and the remarkable work they do.
Congrats to these special Spring 2021 graduates:
Destiny McFall, MSW
Like it was yesterday, Destiny McFall remembers the day she was dropped off at a foster family at age 8, with more questions than possessions, more hurt than hope.
She could not have known then, but that day began a journey of finding belonging, self-worth and confidence needed to endure and break through all the depressing statistics weighing on children brought up through the foster care system. This semester, McFall graduates from The University of Alabama with a master’s degree in social work after earning her bachelor’s degree in the same field from UA a year ago.
“This is extremely rare for people with lived foster care experience because only 20% enroll in college and 3% graduate with a bachelor’s,” said Dr. M. Sebrena Jackson, assistant professor, director of the UA Masters in Social Work program and director of the National Social Work Enrichment Program. “There are so few getting graduate degrees that it isn’t even tracked in the literature.”
Niya Bonner, MSW
Niya Bonner could see the disparities of the “black experience” all around her.
Her relatives in rural areas and inner cities in Alabama experienced the same barriers to affordable medication and healthcare. And, as Bonner grew older and began to understand how diabetes and hypertension affect her family, she began to ask “why?”
To that point, she’d mainly viewed and addressed societal inequities through church service projects. From organizing and donating to clothing drives for tornado relief, to working in kitchens at shelters, Bonner says she’s been “blessed” with a more rounded perspective.
“People have instilled in me that I could have easily had another life,” Bonner says.
While service is a root for making change, Bonner has been motivated to create a broader, more sustainable impact in communities across Alabama. It’s the reason she decided to pursue an MSW-MPH dual-degree at The University of Alabama, and the mission on which she’ll soon embark when she earns her graduate degree Friday.