PNW Graduate Finds “A Tremendous Sense of Fulfillment” in Social Work

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: July 7, 2016

PNW-Graduate-Finds-A-Tremendous-Sense-of-Fulfillment-in-Social-WorkJamie Lynn Dillon would like to have a career that will allow her to “improve the quality of life and well-being of others.” After graduating with honors from Purdue University North Central with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, she is ready to follow what she calls “my true calling in life.”

The Burns Harbor resident has given much thought to her career path. She intends to apply for admission to graduate school at the University of Chicago so that she can pursue a dual degree program to earn a master's and doctorate in social work.

“Once I have my master’s degree, I want to focus on being a clinical counselor for mental health, concentrating on death, dying and bereavement,” she explained. “Eventually I'd like to be a college professor and pursue research in trauma.”

Social Work Club President
As a PNC student, Dillon was president of the Social Work Club for several semesters. As president she encouraged club members to get involved with activities that would benefit the community.

“We held many collection drives,” she recalled. “We collected bedding and linens for the Caring Place women’s shelter, children's books for the Library Sprouts child literacy program and shoes for the Kiwanis Club.”

Off-Campus Activities
Dillon was a member of the PNC honors program, was a student government representative, a member of Circle K service club and the American Sign Language Club. Her grades earned her consistent placement on the Semester Honors and Chancellor's lists.

Off campus, she volunteers with the American Red Cross and is an advocate for abused and neglected children in La Porte County through the CASA program.

She Looks to the Future
Dillon knows what path she wants to take in life. “Improving the quality of life and well-being of others is my passion and my pursuit,” she emphasizes. “Social work provides a tremendous sense of fulfillment. Oftentimes in the field we’ll hear, ‘We're not in it for the income, we're in it for the outcome.’ This is completely satisfying for me. I can say with certainty that I have found my passion, my true calling in life.”

She also noted that she “was able to connect very closely with classmates and professors” and is “confident that my education prepared me for grad school and a career in social work where case management, care-giving, mediating, coordinating and assisting people to help solve problems is required.”

At the same time, she learned to take time for herself. “As a social work student, it is ingrained in our minds to perform self-care,” she said. “My self-care is reading a good book, baking something or going for a long run to burn off some steam. This may not have added time to my day, but it certainly added sanity to my day and helped prevent burnout.”

She credited her husband and her pets with being her “biggest support system.”

As she prepares to move forward with her career, Dillon has advice for other students. “Work hard and never give up on your dreams. Go at your own pace and find what you love. When you love what you do, you will do great work. One of my favorite quotes is from Audrey Hepburn, ‘As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.'"

Purdue University Northwest
With recent approval by the Higher Learning Commission, Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central have unified to become Purdue University Northwest (PNW), a comprehensive regional university within the Purdue University system. When it welcomes its first class of students this fall, PNW will become Indiana’s fifth largest public university, enrolling more than 15,000 students and offering some 70 degree programs.