A Helping Hand for Veterans

Juwell McClendon

Juwell McClendon is working towards her M.S.W in Social Work and will be graduating in the spring of 2017. Her department nominated her as Radford University's December 2016 Featured Graduate Student of the Month.

Juwell is originally from Detroit, Michigan where she lived until joining the military at 18 years old. Juwell served in the military for several years and was stationed in various different places around the world such as Sicily and Norfolk, VA. After deciding to get out of the military, Juwell moved from Norfolk to California where she attended college for one year. She chose to return to Norfolk in order to have in-state tuition and she received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Norfolk State University. Juwell wanted to continue her education in Social Work and chose Radford University to do this because she knew Radford had a great program and could provide her with an opportunity for her to work with veterans. Plus, she thought Radford would provide a nice change of scenery. When asked what made her want to pursue her master’s degree in social work, Juwell stated, “Social Work is about connecting the dots for people by providing them with necessary resources and advocating. It's a hard job but it provides purpose and is what I love doing.”

Juwell, being a veteran herself, is very interested in working with the veteran population. She currently is interning full time with the Salem VA (through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), working as a GA on campus at the Military Resource Center, taking 14 credit hours of coursework, and developing her thesis on the lived experiences of student veterans on campus in which she recently got approval to conduct and publish. With her internship, Juwell is assisting veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, or relationship difficulties by providing mental health counseling and also helping veterans with crisis situations, such as being at risk for homelessness or substance abuse. Juwell was chosen as an ambassador for the Waldron College of Health and Human Services during the 2015-2016 school year. This nomination was from her department’s chair and director and was based on her accomplishments and leadership skills. Juwell was recently selected as a Veterans Reform Student through the Veterans of America Fellowship. This is a legislative fellowship that will allow Juwell to work with Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national members and advocate for veteran policies and represent the state of Virginia next year. When asked what makes her passionate about working with veterans Juwell said, “Social Work for me is an outlet and a way for me to take all my knowledge and share it with other people. It is so fulfilling to be able to work with veterans and show them that they can do this or that and know that I can provide resources for them.”

After completing her Master’s degree in the spring, Juwell hopes to continue working with the veteran population. She also mentioned she is considering getting her Ph.D. in Social Work. She is willing to go anywhere in the U.S. for her degree to experience different places and cultures. Juwell would like to eventually teach social work courses, such as General Intro to Social Work and Social Work Policy. Juwell is excelling in all that she is doing while completing her master’s degree, and as Dr. Deneen Evans, Assistant Professor and MSW Program Coordinator, stated, “Juwell represents the profession and adheres to the ideas of the Social Work Code of Ethics. She values educational experience and is mindful to recruit students.” 

Dec 13, 2016
Allie Woodrum