On this special day of thanks, The College of Social Work is grateful for the spirit of philanthropy exemplified by our advocates, friends, and alumni who believe in our mission. Your gifts not only impact the lives of our students, but the individuals, families, and communities they will serve throughout their careers. Through scholarship support, you lessen the burden of financial debt to allow our students to follow their innate calling—to be the change in the world. To that, we say THANK YOU!
Jason Fullen isn’t your typical student pursuing a master’s in social work. His undergraduate degree isn’t even in social work; it’s in music, from New York University. But despite having no formal background in the field, he always seemed to exemplify the best qualities of a social worker, spending his free time at NYU working on service projects, alternative-break trips, and volunteer activities.
After graduating, Fullen had the chance to pursue his passion for service by working as a high school social studies teacher in rural North Carolina through Teach for America. A two-year program, Teach for America places college grads in underserved communities around the country. That’s the simple definition, but for Fullen the experience was so much more. It clarified his purpose and focused his career aspiration – to improve the quality of education in impoverished areas. In short, it changed his life.
During his time in North Carolina, Fullen saw firsthand how some students struggled to succeed in the classroom because of issues outside of it. The topic is near to his heart and why he feels so strongly that educational policies need to be improved to support students not only at school but beyond. To that end, Fullen is pursuing dual master’s degrees in social work and public administration. “I want to be able to give students of disadvantaged populations the type of opportunities that I have had in my life,” he says.
Fullen has enjoyed his time as a Buckeye, and a favorite memory was serving as grad adviser for a Buck-I-Serv trip to New York City. The group worked with a homeless shelter, an organization that helps disabled populations, and a foster center that assists teenagers. “It was an amazing chance to show my students the importance of service and what it might be like to pursue a service-oriented career,” he says. “It was my way of giving back, because service opportunities such as Buck-I-Serv helped me get my start in social work.”
Now in his last year at Ohio State, Fullen appreciates all the opportunities he has had here. Besides learning from world-class professors, interning at influential organizations and taking part in service trips, Fullen was given one of the best gifts any student could have — a scholarship.
“The biggest thing about this scholarship is that the gift isn’t just supporting me,” he says. “It is ultimately supporting all the people and communities I hope to impact during my life.”
Written by: Dinu Godage, ACE Student Intern, Social Work