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Union Institute & University President Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

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President Karen Schuster Webb, Ph.D. was honored by The Gestalt Center for Organization & Systems Development (Gestalt OSD Center) in Cleveland, Ohio with a Lifetime Achievement Award on August 10, 2019.

Dr. John Carter, president and a founding member of the Center, presented the award. He described Dr. Webb’s stellar career and her passion for equity of access to education, her dedication to learning and teaching. He highlighted her record of mentoring, particularly young women seeking to advance careers in higher education. As Dr. Carter said, “Dr. Webb’s presence has made a difference in the lives of so many, and with only one request … ‘that the gift you received be passed forward.’”

The Gestalt OSD Center was established in 1974 at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. Its unique goal is to integrate Gestalt theory, systems theory and organization theory into a framework applicable to enhancing work at all levels of systems. The center conducts programs, workshops and training across the United States. It has workshop or consultation presence in six continents.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University degree program that expands your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click to learn more.

Union Institute & University and Rotary Club to host reception for Mandela Washington Fellows

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Pictured left to right: Rotary World Affairs Committee member Baffour Otchere, Fellow Nahla Maalla, Fellow sponsor Megan Fischer of Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank, Fellow Leticia Asangono, Fellow Otil Amoroso Lufuma, Fellow sponsor Richard Stewart of Carriage House Farm, and Rotary World Affairs Committee member Rand Oliver.

Union Institute & University and Rotary Club of Cincinnati will host a reception for Mandela Washington Fellows on Wednesday, August 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the university’s headquarters at 440 East McMillan Street in Walnut Hills.

“Union is delighted to join the Rotary Club of Cincinnati in hosting the Mandela Washington Fellows,” said Dr. Rand Oliver, UI&U professor and Director of Alumni Affairs and member of the Rotary Club World Affairs Committee. “Union’s commitment to social justice mirrors Rotary International’s mission to advance goodwill around the world.”

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders was established in 2014. The flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), it empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In 2019, the Fellowship has provided 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.

The Fellows, who range in age from 25 to 35, are all accomplished in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. In 2018, Fellows represented a diverse group of leaders from 48 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Meet the four Fellows working in Cincinnati below.

 

Mandela Washington Fellowship Biographies

Amedy Pereira, Sao Tome and Principe. Working with La Terza Coffee.

Amedy Taty Pereira is the manager of Ephraim, a family business that–in addition to producing coffee and cocoa– is also a restaurant and a guest house in the heart of São Tomé. Amedy inherited the company from his father, the only coffee and cocoa producer on the island at the time, at the age of 18 after a health scare. Given the opportunity to manage the growth of Ephraim, Amedy has been at the firm ever since. The opportunity to lead the company fostered a previously untapped entrepreneurial desire. Amedy is also a volunteer and leader in the Association Asas Célélé, which aims to support underprivileged children and orphans in the community of Roça Monte Café. He is a communicative, resilient, organized, and passionate leader that continually looks to develop his skills to add value to Ephraim.

Leticia Asangono, Equatorial Guinea. Working with Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank.

Leticia Alene Nsue Asangono has eight years of experience in the oil and gas industry and works as a contract analyst for Marathon Oil. She is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Administration at Atlantic International University and is a 2018 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur. Outside of her studies, Leticia runs ONG Pañales Y Comida Infantil (ONG PACOIN), a non-governmental organization that provides free food and diapers to children in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. As the founder of ONG PACOIN and a single mother, Leticia intimately knows the challenges parents face when raising a child. Leticia also volunteers with organizations, and currently works with the La Ronda Project by donating food and clothing to families affected by fires in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Leticia plans to open new ONG PACOIN branches throughout Equatorial Guinea to support more children and families in need.

Nahla Maalla, Sudan. Working with the City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability

Nahla Maalla is a certified energy management professional and the founding engineer of the energy conservation project in DAL Dairy factory. She is an alumnus of the 2018 Arab Program for Sustainable Energy Youth program which took place in Egypt 2018 and was a member of the first prize winner team in the United Nations Development Programme 2015 Social Good Summit. She is also blogger, through which she shares her insights about the energy issues, opportunities and its associated socio-economic impacts on the sustainable development in Sudan.

Otil Amoroso Lufuma, Angola. Working with Carriage House Farm.

Otíl Venancio Amoroso Lufuma is a young farmer from Soyo, Angola with seven years of experience in agriculture. Otíl primarily works in banana and maize production and is the founder of an agribusiness start-up and manager of his own farm. Otíl has completed several trainings on modern farming technologies and volunteers in his community as a leading agriculturalist helping women and young children from low-income families to pursue careers in agriculture. Growing up in a low-income family himself, Otíl learned to farm from his grandparents. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Otíl’s long-term goal is to work on self-sustainable agricultural growth projects to fight malnutrition, hunger, and extreme poverty.

 

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University degree program that expands your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click to learn more.

mental health certificate

Alumni Spotlight: Agyei Ekundayo

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mental health certificate

Welcome to “Alumni Spotlight.” Learn how our Union Institute & University (UI&U) graduates live the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.

Featured this month: Agyei Ekundayo

Education: Graduate Certificate in Health Education (2019)

Profession: Health Educator and Mental Health Awareness Advocate

Agyei Ekundayo is a passionate health educator and mental health advocate. Her favorite saying is, “Everybody ‘mental’ ain’t crazy. Many of us just need someone to listen.” Learn more below about Agyei and her quest to help people.

 

What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?

My Graduate Certificate in Health Education makes me stand out as a professional. The certificate made me more marketable, and it helped me land my current job as a Community Specialist. Union’s certificate is designed to promote behavior change and to prepare for professional practice in wellness program management. In addition, I feel more prepared to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. All four HEC courses are equal parts CHES study guide. Awesome!

What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?

The quality I admire most about Union is everyone’s willingness to help me on all levels. The staff and faculty were so accommodating to my many disabilities with unwavering support and patience.

If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?

My advice is to go for it! I’m 41 and I pulled it off despite short-term memory loss due to past seizures, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and depression. UI&U won’t let you fall behind.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment is my memoir, Hindsight is 20/20, 2nd edition. I want people to know that mental illness doesn’t have to be a death sentence and that the cycle of family trauma can be broken.

What is your passion away from work?

My passion is mental health. It’s like I always say: “Everybody ‘mental’ ain’t crazy. Many of us just need someone to listen.”

 

Union’s Graduate Certificate in Health Education is designed to help you better serve the community as a health educator. Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in the Graduate Certificate in Health Education program.

It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click to learn more.

 

A Perspective on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Noted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. biographer, historian, and UI&U doctoral faculty member Stewart Burns recently gave an interview on Dr. King’s civil rights activism. The Sojourner’s Truth, Toledo, Ohio’s African American newspaper, ran it as a two-part series. Burns reflects on lesser known aspects of Dr. King’s inner struggles and the angst and depression he suffered as he traveled the often solitary road as a civil rights leader. You can read part 1 of the interview here, and part 2 here

 

Dr. Burns Describes Dr. King

Burns served as editor of the King Papers at Stanford University, and developed a documentary history of the Montgomery bus boycott (made into an HBO feature). Thus, he has unique perspectives on Dr. King’s life. He points out that, as a servant leader, Dr. King acutely felt the suffering of others. He withstood the daily onslaught of criticism for his stands on the Vietnam War and economic inequality.

Burns describes Dr. King’s last years: “For the last four and a half years of his life he was a wounded warrior. It does seem that from a psychological or emotional perspective, it is very often the case that activists or people who are leaders for social change find themselves not only on the edge of society in the sense that they’re really pushing for significant change in the society, but also that their minds and consciousness and spirits are somewhat on the edge of what’s considered normal.”

And yet, Burns says, “King himself was a real role model. He wanted a united movement of people of color and poor whites, which was the idea for the poor people’s campaign, but above all he wanted black people to be united.”

 

About Dr. Burns

Dr. Burns chairs UI&U’s Ethical & Creative Leadership concentration in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program and shares leadership of its Martin Luther King Jr. Studies specialization. He is a highly regarded historian of the civil rights movement, author or editor of eight books, former editor of the King Papers at Stanford University, where he also taught U.S. History before joining Union. He has been a nonviolent activist for most of his life, and for over a quarter century engaged in interracial healing in higher education. Learn more about Dr. Burns and his commitment to connect Dr. King’s legacy to current issues at this link.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University degree program. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click here to learn more.

Florida's 2019 principal of the year

Professor Named Florida’s 2019 Principal of the Year

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The Union community is sending their congratulations to UI&U faculty member Michelle Kefford who was named Florida’s 2019 Principal of the Year.

The award reflects her commitment to students and her belief in lifelong learning.

“Working with all ages in the pursuit of knowledge is my passion,” said Kefford. “I tell all my students it is never too late to learn. I know the sacrifices my Union students are making to return to school after a long hiatus, and to juggle work and family responsibilities, but we are never too old to learn.”

Kefford has worked in Broward County schools for 19 years, all at the high school level. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Florida State University, a Master of Science in Science Education from Florida International University, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University.

Kefford has held various positions on district committees. She is credited with school improvement initiatives including a mentoring program called Kefford’s Kids, and the creation of Falcon Flyers, a pathway for middle school students to earn high school credits. Her efforts have resulted in the school earning an “A” for six of the last seven years.

Dr. Thomas Frederick, who chairs UI&U’s General Education program, sees the connection between Professor Kefford and Union’s mission to transform lives and communities.

“She is the principal of a large senior high school, a community leader, a college professor, and a wife and mother. Yet, she still takes time to make each of her students feel special and valued.”

Teaching at Union is a family affair for Kefford. Michelle follows in her mother’s footsteps. Reta Smith also taught at Union as an affiliate faculty member.

The 2019 Principal of the Year award carries a cash prize of $3,500 and was presented to Kefford by the Florida State Board of Education and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. She has been principal at the Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines since 2011.

Read more about Michelle and her award in the Miami Herald.

 

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University bachelor’s degree program. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click here to learn more.

Dr. Timothy William Quinnan President of Richmont Graduate University

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Dr. Timothy William Quinnan

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 55 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

This month we feature Dr. Timothy William Quinnan, the newly appointed president of Richmont Graduate University. Dr. Quinnan is one of a group of 26 Union alumni who are serving or have served as a college president. Learn more about Dr. Quinnan and his leadership skills in the Q&A below.

Q: How do you define leadership?
A: Leadership is the mindful use of persuasion rather than power to achieve a desired goal.

Q: When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?
A: It was in my late teens, particularly in athletic or social settings, that I first noticed others gravitating toward me for advice, support, and direction, even when there were other team captains or event coordinators. Back then, I wasn’t comfortable in the role and, in fact, tried to avoid it! Which is why it surprised me that I somehow succeeded in almost every instance that I led. In college, more co-curricular opportunities came my way and I began to embrace them, sensing that leadership might be an innate strength. Moving forward to the start of my career in higher education, I consciously, actively sought out opportunites. It was a recognition that I could never reach my professional goals without experiencing the rewards, challenges, and deep learning that attended leadership.

Q: Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.
A:
I have long held that creativity is the soul of leadership, perhaps above all other factors. Consequently, I strive to promote work settings where innovation is prized as a means to enhance staff performance and organizational impact. An example would be the “Next Generation Initiatives” grant program I launched at the University of Texas at Arlington. Annually, we invited staff, faculty, and students to propose utterly new and experimental programs/services to improve student success by providing seed grants to pilot test them. Those demonstrating high impact were soon institutionalized as new, cutting-edge ‘best practices’ in our operations.

Q: What leader do you admire most and why?
A: Oh my, that’s impossible for me to answer. There are too many leaders I admire to choose one. For me, it’s more about the qualities displayed in life-defining moments or major crises and less about the entire resume of that person. That said, I tend to find historical figures the most compelling. Perhaps this stems from my aversion to a flood of contemporary experts who promise instant leadership success if one buys their book or attends their seminars. Maybe I’m an outlier but I still lean toward believing that leadership is more organic and less learned. Also, I’m awed by those who transformed the very nature of the fields they worked in, from politics, to the arts, to business. Only leaders who lift the worlds they inhabit to new and unprecedented heights have truly achieved their full potential.

 Q: What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?
A:
“The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility” T.S. Eliot

Too many in positions of leadership forget how long it takes to get there and how easy it is to lose.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. It all starts with You! And is all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to choose the degree program that is right for you.

Union Institute & University Offers an Immediate Solution for Displaced Adult Students

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CINCINNATI, OH – Union Institute & University is a solution for adult students searching for an alternative to continue their degree pathway due to recent closings amongst community education providers. Union can serve as an immediate solution for those students who want to pick-up where they left off in their education path.

Union places value on the student by offering a personal accord that most schools are not able to incorporate into their enrollment process. We believe that students deserve one-on-one attention to find the education path that suits their needs.

Union is here to serve adult learners through the transfer process in the following ways:

  • FREE application – Union’s application process is complimentary, never a charge to apply.
  • Transfer friendly – Union is transfer friendly. For example, up to 90 credit hours for undergraduates, PLUS a free transfer credit review.
  • Personal university – Union is known for its one-to-one attention to students. We have over 400 faculty & staff for our adult learners in ways other universities can’t match.
  • Displacement Scholarship – $100 discount per credit hour up to a maximum of $3,000 on the condition that students maintain continuous enrollment in good standing with UI&U.

Since 1964, Union Institute & University has specialized in adult education by offering busy, highly motivated adults the one-on-one attention that’s so hard to come by in their time-strapped lives. Union places students at the center of their own education. We like to say we are hi-tech and hi-touch.

To learn how Union can assist you in completing your degree, visit www.myunion.edu or call

1-800-861-6400.

About Union Institute & University

Union Institute & University is a non-profit, regionally accredited university specializing in providing quality higher education degrees for adults nationwide. Founded in 1964, Union’s academic programs and services are the result of more than five decades of identifying and refining ways to structure and deliver education to meet the needs of adults. Distinguished as the pioneer in adult education, Union perfected the concepts now common in higher education such as the hybrid model, a blend of online and traditional classroom instruction, interdisciplinary studies, and student centered education with socially relevant and applicable learning outcomes in its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs. The university is guided by its core mission to educate highly motivated adults who seek academic programs to engage, enlighten, and empower them to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Union is a national university with four academic centers located in: Ohio, Florida, and California.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University Ph.D. program that incorporates interdisciplinary study to expand your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Union Alumna Named One of 2019 Top Women in Business CEOs

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Dr. Patricia Savage, President/CEO Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries

March is Women’s History Month. The month celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting alumna Dr. Patricia Savage who graduated with her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a concentration in Organizational Leaership in 2005. As president and CEO of Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries (ALSM), Dr. Savage provides leadership to manage the programs of ALSM, a faith-based, not-for-profit organization that supplies health and human services throughout eight counties in western central Pennsylvania. She was just named one of Pennsylvania Business Central’s 2019 Top Women in Business CEOs. Learn more about Dr. Savage and her views on leadership in the Q&A below.  

Q: How do you define leadership?
A:That’s difficult. The concept is an abstraction. I think leadership is as diverse as the people who are leaders. Something good leaders have in common is that they place the good of their organization, team, unit, culture, society, family —whatever— over benefit to themselves.

Also, they are mission-driven—which is to say that their heads are screwed on right; they don’t get distracted from the vision that inspires their mission. They control themselves.

Q: When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?
A: It was in school. I was a good student in high school, didn’t that did not seem to be an arena in which I would lead. In college, I began to realize that I was in control of what I was learning. I started producing knowledge, not just absorbing it. I recall one experience when I began to take control of myself and found that my vision could inspire others to share that vision.

Q: Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.
A: Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries (ALSM) serves a large number of senior citizens, both those who live independently and those who are in health care centers. As we age, we strive to maintain our cognitive fitness. Although many of our residents participate in activities and do cross word puzzles, word search, and other programs that enable them to maintain their level of cognition, I challenged the enrichment staff to find a research-based program that would increase cognitive fitness. At first, there was some resistance and some doubt about a program like this being of benefit. At a conference that focused on healthy seniors, I found a software-based program and I shared this program with our team. They liked it and reviewed the results of the research, although there was some concern that our residents would be fearful of a computer-based program. After some training of both the staff and the residents, the program was embraced and is being used today. It has been successful on some of our campuses/programs, and others are still in the process of integrating the program. The example of leadership is that I worked with our team who is committed to the quality of care of our residents and challenged them to build on our programs. As a result of education and discussion, a new program was embraced.

Q: What leader do you admire most and why?
A:
Martin Luther. It took great courage to be a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. He was a person of high morals, vision, courage, and persistence, all qualities that I admire.

Q: What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?
A:
“As a leader, you have to have the ability to assimilate new information and understand that there might be a different view.” – Madeleine Albright

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University Ph.D. program that incorporates interdisciplinary study to expand your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Student stars in Clownvets – Premiere is March 7

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Bruce Reges has found that laughter can be the best medicine. The veteran and Ph.D. student suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He recently joined nine other veterans on a trip to Guatemala with Dr. Patch Adams, (yes, the one made famous by Robin Williams). The trip was a pilot program to help veterans by helping others. They dressed as clowns and visited hospitals and orphanages.

The film named Clownvets premieres March 7 in San Jose, California. Click to watch the Clownvets trailer with Dr. Patch Adams

“The experience helped me to get in touch with my emotions again,” said Reges. “In war, it is necessary to shut down to stay alive. You don’t get close to someone because they may be gone tomorrow.”

Reges is no stranger to performing. “My mother was a teacher and used puppets to reach children.  I helped her with the shows. In high school, I did a stint with Bozo the Clown on television in my hometown of Grand Rapids.”

While serving in the United States Army in Iraq, he used puppets to bridge a gap between the children and soldiers. “The kids were frightened. The puppets allowed the children to see us as people. In the end, the puppets helped the children open up and let us know where bombs were hidden. The puppets saved lives. That is how Peace Through Puppets started.”

Currently a Ph.D. student in Educational Studies, he was encouraged to enroll at Union by his VA doctor and master’s degree advisor, both of whom graduated from Union.

His dissertation/committee chair Dr. Beryl Watnick, has encouraged him every step of the way. “Bruce entered his Ph.D. program with some trepidation about whether he was up to the challenge of such a rigorous and scholarly journey,” says Dr. Watnick.  “Over the semesters, I have witnessed his growth as a doctoral student as well as his desire to contribute to scholarly conversations on the state of our current educational system. Bruce’s military service, along with his work as an innovative educator, deepen his passion for his continued evolution as an educational leader and scholar.”

Reges hopes to make a positive impact in education. “I hope I can be a force for social justice and more male involvement in elementary school instruction. Too many times, I have worked in elementary schools where I was literally the only male there on a consistent basis. Everyone including the support staff were all females. I feel a balance is needed of positive male influence.”

Even though there is not a cure for PTSD, Reges is hopeful. He has a daughter he loves spending time with, continues to spread joy through Peace Through Puppets, and looks forward to receiving his Ph.D. “Laughter may not be a panacea, but it sure can’t hurt.”

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University Ph.D. program that incorporates interdisciplinary study to expand your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Veteran and military spouse is working to improve lives in the military community

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Amanda White

March is Social Work Month. This celebration is an opportune time to highlight students in the UI&U Social Work Bachelor’s degree program. Every day, the nation’s social workers work to empower and elevate millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Student and veteran Amanda White plans to empower and elevate the military community after graduation. Learn more about her goals in the Q&A below.

Q: What do you plan to do with your degree?
A: I plan to work with the military and veteran community, to help address the unique issues facing service members and their families. As an NCO in the Army, it was my job to take care of soldiers. That desire has not changed, even though I no longer wear the uniform.

Q: What led you to this program?
A: I was drawn to the social work field after my son’s diagnosis with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). It was a chaotic and confusing period in our lives, and our social worker was a steady and comforting guide in this new landscape. I want to be able to provide that same service for others and I believe that pursing a degree in social work is the best way to do so.

Q: Why did you choose Union for your studies?
A: The Social Work Bachelor’s program at Union offers the quality of education I desire, while allowing me the flexibility I need as a military spouse and a parent.

Q: If you could give a piece of advice to your 20 something, what would it be?
A:
Hold steady, drive on, and do the thing. Life will throw challenges at you, may make you feel a bit weak in the knees some days, but do not stop pushing and do not wait for things to be ” just right”. That’ll never happen, so you’re just going to have to do it imperfectly. And don’t worry so much – it’s all a wonderful adventure.

Q: Who has influenced you the most in your life, and how have they influenced you?
A:
 I have been influenced by a myriad of people in different phases of my life, so I don’t know that I could chose just one. Right now, in this moment, my greatest influences are my children. I have this desire to do right by them, to be better for them, to change the world for them, and that drives my actions every day.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be with a Bachelor of Science with a major in Social Work degree. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.