Taylor University Social work program equips students for future careers in social work and counseling while cultivating a deeper love for God and his people. The program offers a variety of career paths, and for Cristina Spear ’18 it introduced her to the world of politics where she found her passion.
Since receiving her JD from the University of Tennessee in May 2021, Spear is currently in charge of policies and partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) violence prevention division. She is pursuing her Masters in Social Work at the University of Tennessee.
Discover a call
It was a multi-step process for Spear to land in his current career field. She came to Taylor with the intention of being an art therapist, citing both her love of the art and her heart for therapy, and felt the social work program was the right step for her. But after taking courses in social work policy and serving as a Staff assistant (like a PR), Spears discovered she had different goals in mind.
Spear realized that his long-term goal was to work at a macro level rather than an individual level. One of the bachelor’s social work content areas is social policy, and this is where Spear found his passion. Professors, wardens, and even a local county judge worked with Spear, each encouraging her in small ways that together propelled her into politics and law school.
â€œTaylor helps people further develop their ethics, the way they want to be viewed and the type of employee they want to be,â€ Spear said. â€œA big part of our degree in social work was the code of ethics that social workers must follow – taking the time to diligently go through them at the undergraduate level and how they align with the scriptures and learn what it means to be a person of faith and employee.
In law school, Spear’s social work degree set her apart. She was one of the few students who did not intend to become a practicing lawyer, and many of her classmates had undergraduate degrees in political science or similar fields. Her background in social work has given her a more holistic view of the law and its wider effects outside the courtroom, which she holds in high regard.
â€œSocial work does a lot of advocacy for politics,â€ Spear said. â€œThe law degree helps. In fact, I understand what laws and promulgated acts can do, so the two together really help my job. ”
Cultivate the community
Taylor’s alumni network proved invaluable to her when she moved to Tennessee, as she was able to connect with Taylor alumni both professionally and personally. Spear’s current roommate and former staff co-assistant at Bergwall Room, Mackenzie Taylor ’18, introduced Spear to the Violence Prevention section of the CDC, where Taylor works as a public health analyst.
â€œTaylor has a community outside of the ‘Taylor bubble’,â€ Spear said. “Never be afraid to reach out.”
Spear said being in Taylor taught him the importance of having a community, especially a community of faith.
â€œBeing a person of faith influences the way you view social work,â€ Spear said. â€œSome of the questions that I read and bring up – it’s deeply sad, it hurts my heart in so many ways. But I have this hope that it is not forever.
Spear looks forward to completing her Masters in Social Work and is confident that she will continue her policy work.
â€œI’m really excited to learn what I’m doing,â€ Spear said. â€œI like to know more about the different policy recommendations for each of the areas we deal with. I like to learn from the experts on these topics. I love hearing my team stand up for their region, for each other and for the United States as a whole. It’s so exciting to see because everyone cares deeply about preventing violence … it’s amazing to work with a team of ten and see all the work they can do to make our country better and our neighbours.
Interested in continuing social work at Taylor? Start your application today.