Now a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) graduate from Trent University Durham GTA, Katherine Chambers has devoted herself to inclusion through volunteer work, collaboration and experiential learning. In turn, the mature student, mother and recipient of the Prince Hall Masons - Jericho Lodge #32 Award, has been instrumental in launching an inclusive legacy for future B.S.W. students to share and build upon.
An ongoing sense of belonging
The new Sense of Belonging initiative began as Katherine worked as research assistant examining the culture of inclusion on campus with Dr. Marina Morgenshtern, assistant professor of Social Work.
The unique experiential learning placement transformed into a team effort that promotes the importance of inclusion on campus to students, faculty and staff.
“Being a part of Sense of Belonging created an opportunity for me to reach out in the virtual world and have impact,” reflects Ms. Chambers who led the group with fellow student, Jessica Lott.
Sense of Belonging hosted widely-attended virtual events including an enlightening discussion with author and former MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes who spoke about her experiences, allyship and what inclusion means to the BIPOC community and marginalized students. The team hosted other guest speakers including Trent University BIPOC counsellor Cayo White.
After seeking input from the campus community, weekly drop-in sessions were organized to ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging.
“It’s a common, safe place to talk. A place to share good thoughts.”
Moving forward, fourth-year B.S.W. students can participate in the Sense of Belonging placement with Professor Morgenshtern and spearhead the accompanying initiative.
Driven to heal
Ms. Chambers believes that we all are impacted by various degrees of trauma that must be unpacked and examined.
“I have a passion, the education and experience to create space for those impacted by trauma and can help ensure that they have a voice. Growth is possible. Healing is possible. The faculty at Trent Durham sparked that passion in me.”
The greater good
At Trent, Ms. Chambers was involved in a number of clubs, such as the Social Work Association, the Trent African, Black, Caribbean Students Club and the Trent Oshawa Women's Support Group.
As a result of her involvement and commitment to multicultural matters, she received the Prince Hall Masons - Jericho Lodge #32 Award.
Additionally, her experiences at Trent, provided skills and confidence to support her in future professional and academic endeavours.
Starting in the fall, Ms. Chambers will study Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Toronto. Looking ahead, she hopes to earn a Ph.D., seek mentorship and begin her own practice.
Learn more about Trent University’s Social Work program.