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Scholarships open up world of possibilities for social work student

Student Life

By Daniel Ferguson

How do you navigate the change that comes when a family member experiences a serious medical event?

Hannah Drover, a white woman in her early 20s, faces the camera with a smile, wearing a blue jacket standing inside Memorial University's Core Science Facility and leaning on a rail.
Third-year social work student Hannah Drover is thriving in her program thanks to the scholarships she was awarded throughout her Memorial University education.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Hannah Drover, now a social work student at Memorial University, learned first-hand while still in high school.

When Ms. Drover’s grandmother, Sadie, had a stroke, her family had to make sure that her evolving needs would be met.

Cue the social workers.

Ms. Drover’s mother and family worked closely with a number of social workers to determine the best level of care for Sadie.

As she spent the next several months going between high school and the care home to visit her nan, Ms. Drover became more aware of the crucial roles that social workers play in care homes, hospitals and throughout the community.

“I saw how they can advocate for the needs of older adults in the medical system,” she said, explaining how a social worker helped her nan access a swallow test at the Health Sciences Centre. “She was able to go back to eating more solid foods afterward, and it really improved her quality of life.”

A career in social work

When first considering her career options, Ms. Drover thought about becoming a teacher or a child psychologist.

She knew that she loved working with children after her time as a counsellor, and later, co-ordinator, for the summer camp in Bauline.

The camp was another place where she encountered social workers checking in and providing support for children with diverse needs. Seeing the many roles that social workers can play in the community cemented her decision.

“I’m also working with our service users, helping with intake, sexual health education and some counselling under the direction of a supervisor.” — Hannah Drover

Today, Ms. Drover is in her third year of the Bachelor of Social Work Program at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus.

She is doing her first practicum right now with Planned Parenthood, handling administrative tasks — something she says is good experience, as social workers handle a significant amount of administration in their roles.

“I’m also working with our service users, helping with intake, sexual health education and some counselling under the direction of a supervisor, all of which are great learning experiences related to social work.”

It’s clear that she’s in the right place.

Ms. Drover’s enthusiasm for her work at the organization comes across with a mixture of pride and gratitude.

“There’s a large scope of practice that Planned Parenthood connects with,” she said. “Our doctors can make referrals to other specialists. We also do referrals to other services. For example, someone might come in for something related to sexual health, and depending on their needs, we may end up connecting them with other organizations, as well.”

All the difference

A recipient of multiple scholarships, Ms. Drover is quick to point out how receiving a scholarship alleviates financial stress and allows her to get the most out of her university experience.

“It’s nearly impossible to find time to volunteer or give back to your community when you’re working to support yourself and your education.” — Hannah Drover

That includes participating in other activities and opportunities that inspire her work and help her give back to the community.

“I’m currently in an unpaid practicum, a beyond difficult and stressful circumstance without the scholarship support,” she said, noting that she’s been fortunate to get this far in her degree program without having to rely on student loans or work long hours while completing her studies.

Ms. Drover notes that scholarships allow students to put more time and effort into their studies. Right now, she is working 1-2 shifts per week in a part-time job.

“I see others working 25 or 30-plus hours a week to cover the cost of their degree. I’m working minimally, which allows me to be more invested in my education. A lot of students have no other choice. When you can put more time into your courses, you can get more out of them. That’s a privilege that scholarships have afforded me.”

She also says that scholarships encourage students to do more volunteer and community-based work.

“It’s nearly impossible to find time to volunteer or give back to your community when you’re working to support yourself and your education.”

‘Very different’ experience without scholarships

Looking down the road, Ms. Drover is already thinking about a master’s degree in social work.

The fact that she’s on track to finish her bachelor’s degree without student loan debt will make all the difference.

This past spring, Ms. Drover was invited to speak to donors who have established or are committed to creating planned gifts to Memorial University.

Hannah Drover, a white woman in her early 20s, faces the camera with a smile, wearing a blue jacket standing inside Memorial University's Core Science Facility
Hannah Drover is on track to finish her degree without student loan debt, something she says she is “so grateful” for.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

As a recipient of the Dr. Heather Onyett Legacy Scholarship, she spoke about how scholarships and awards have a lasting influence not only on the student recipients but also on the people, communities and organizations surrounding them.

“I was fortunate to have a chance to meet with some of Memorial’s legacy donors. It was really inspiring to hear first-hand their belief in students and commitment to supporting our ambitions now and in the future. My university experience would be very different without scholarships and I’m so grateful for them and for everyone who chooses to support students.”

One hundred per cent goes to chosen area

The generosity of our donors is creating incredible opportunities for student success and 100 per cent of every donation goes to the chosen award or intended area of support.

For more information about giving to Memorial University, or to make a donation to support our students, please visit the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement.


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