Kokhobalem Haile MSW'22

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Haile MSW'22

I have a degree in social work and a minor in business administration. I chose social work because acts of service have always been a passion of mine. Coming from an East African community, it’s essential to do what you can to help another.

I took a course at St. Kate’s when I was in high school and I fell in love with the school’s mission of social justice. That’s something many students shared—learning how to incorporate social justice into our individual lives.

I am a Page Scholar from the Page foundation, which is a scholarship program awarded to students of color who graduate from a Minnesota high school and attend a Minnesota post-secondary institution. You get financial support to pay for college while serving communities that look a lot like yourself. It’s really being able to be that representative, that role model for children, saying you, too, can achieve and go to college. The staff and faculty allowed me to ask billions of questions about my career paths, and about managing and balancing things.

In my senior year, I had the opportunity to take part in the Assistantship Mentoring Program and be a college teaching assistant. One of my professors said I would be a great fit. I thought, ‘me?’ I took on this role just as social distancing was starting. It was online, but the process was very creative, and I learned a lot about myself. At the same time, I was volunteering, interning at an agency, and being a children’s literacy mentor. Despite the social distancing, I did thrive. Because of these opportunities, I have developed lifelong connections with the agencies I’ve served.

Once I was able to apply what I've been learning, it brought to light what exactly they were teaching us in our social work program. St. Kate’s gave me the skills to build that confidence, awareness, and education, and to incorporate that into my work. It brought together academics with personal passion.

I’m now full-time at a clinical counseling center. It’s nice to see firsthand what it means to provide mental health services and build that rapport with clients. That’s something I’d like to build on. How I can bring those core values I have and incorporate them into the work I do and the people I serve. I’m hopeful for the future.