Baylor Celebrates National Social Work Month

March 24, 2023
National Social Work Month 2023

National Social Work Month is a time to celebrate the role social workers play in society. Caption and Photo Credit: Baylor University Media and Public Relations

Contact: Kelly Craine, Baylor University Media and Public Relations
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WACO, Texas (March 24, 2023) – National Social Work Month is a time to celebrate the role social workers play in society. Dedicated to breaking barriers that prevent people from achieving their own potential, social workers are essential to improving the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

“The field of social work touched us all,” said Jon E. Singletary, Ph.D., dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. “Most people have been helped by a social worker because social workers are found in all facets of life and community, whether they go by the title social worker or not. They provide vital services to our families, our churches, our medical communities and even our government.”

The opportunities for social workers go beyond traditional clinical settings. Recent Baylor alumni have used their skills to become business owners, executive directors for non-profit organizations and even elected officials. Social workers also are uniquely suited to take on tough issues in any setting.

“Social workers can find strengths, resources and ways forward that can end up moving through and around barriers or even breaking the barriers altogether,” said Melody York Zuniga, LMSW, associate dean of academic affairs and senior lecturer at Baylor.

For more than half a century, Baylor Social Work has challenged students with rigorous curriculum and hands-on field experiences that equip them with the skills needed to serve others. The School’s mission is to prepare social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership.

Today, the Garland School of Social Work offers three degrees: BSW, MSW and Ph.D., and ranks among the nation’s top 25% of social work graduate schools in nation. The School has two campuses in Waco and online, along with a thriving research center in downtown Houston, and compassionate, hardworking alumni serve all over the world, all nurtured by Baylor’s learning environment that prepares future social workers to face any challenge.

 “Our faculty, staff and students seek to break barriers with innovative, collaborative and evidence-based approaches to serving others through our teaching, research and practice,” said Holly Oxhandler, Ph.D., associate professor of social work and associate dean for research and faculty.

To celebrate National Social Work Month, the School of Social Work will host a panel discussion on self-care and mental health care from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, March 27, in the Beckham Room on the second floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center. 

Guest panelists are Baylor Alumni and include:

  • Shamika Bradshaw, LCSW, MSW, ’18, co-owner of Rooted in Resiliency therapy agency
  • Trinity Martinez, LCSW, ‘22, case manager for Baylor Athletics Mental Health Services
  • Zeke Morgan, MSW, MBA ’18, population director for Waco Family Medicine
  • Tonee Shelton, MSW ‘17, poet and advocate

“It is an honor to take a moment to celebrate the work social workers do,” Dean Singletary said. “We are proud of those who have come through this program, those who are here now, and those yet to come.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is home to one of the leading graduate social work programs in the nation with a research agenda that explores humanity, engages spirituality and promotes equality. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (BSW); a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree available in Waco or online; three joint-degree options, MSW/MBA, MSW/MDiv and MSW/MTS, through a partnership with Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary; and an online Ph.D. program. Visit the School of Social Work website to learn more.

Story and image originally published on Baylor University Media and Public Relations Website