As a mother of five, I’m not your typical college student. But it wasn’t until fostering and adopting two girls that I discovered my passion for helping children and families. My experiences led me to pursue a degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I recently completed my bachelor’s, and this spring began the master’s program in the College of Social Work.
Thanks to the financial support of people like you, I hope my research will one day provide a better transition for children into foster families. At UT, I am continually inspired by my professors and humbled by the immense resources available at the College of Social Work—made possible with your support. Along with my personal experiences, the opportunities UT provided early in my education sparked in me a special interest in research to assist foster children.
With the help of the college, I secured an internship with the community law office in Knoxville. This firsthand experience has been invaluable to my graduate research, as my research focuses on attachment disorders in foster children placed with new families. At the community law office, one of a handful of agencies in the country taking a holistic approach to helping adults, I’m able to see what should have been done for these individuals as children to help develop better methods of treatment. As a full-time student and mom of five, I stay busy. My Big Idea— to create better intervention methods for foster children and their families—couldn’t possibly be realized without your support.
Thank you for your commitment to the College of Social Work, which allows students like me to explore our passions and Big Ideas for the future. Your gift to the college will have a lifelong effect on current and future students.
Stefanie Pilkay ‘15
Graduate student, College of Social Work