Chanelle McCluer will use her new master’s in social work to impact both children and older adults
“Inspirational” and “determined” are two words KUEC Academic Success Coach Misty Chandler uses to describe this 28-year-old outstanding 2019 graduate from Overland Park, Kansas. With the support of her parents, Lisa [a KU grad] and Chris, brother, Zanderz, friends and professors, Chanelle McCluer earned her Master of Social Work this month while working two jobs and considers it her greatest accomplishment.
Find out how McCluer’s determination helped her overcome obstacles and keep her on the path to her commitment to helping others.
Q: What is a typical day in your life like?
A: During the week, I work at my internship with Ascend Hospice until 4 p.m. and then head to my FosterAdopt Connect job where I work with children who have behavioral challenges. I get home around 8:30 and eat dinner. Afterward, I write case notes to document my day and exercise. On the days I’m not working both jobs, I like to visit with friends or family if I have the energy.
Q: What makes you the happiest?
A: I get great satisfaction from feeling like I’ve genuinely made an impact on someone’s life. I also really enjoy engaging in good conversation with family and friends and cuddling with my two cats.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Knowing there are people counting on me is what gets me up in the morning. I want to make a difference in the lives of people who need extra support and care and help them feel heard and empowered.
Q: Why did you choose KUEC?
A: I chose KU because it is known for its excellent social welfare program. I was especially impressed with the fact that KU founded the Strength’s Perspective [a strengths-based approach to increase resiliency in work with older adults], which is vital to how I practice social work. I also love that KU Edwards is less than a half hour commute from my apartment!
Q: How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?
A: I worked with the Academic Achievement and Access Center to ensure I was able to make it through school despite chronic health issues. I am extremely grateful to Misty Chandler and the rest of the AAAC, as well as understanding professors like Professor Michael Bick, for going above and beyond to ensure my needs were met throughout the program while still providing a stellar learning environment.
Q: How has your KUEC degree prepared you for the future?
A: My MSW provided me with ample opportunities for personal growth as I learned more about myself and how to manage the challenges social work presents. I feel I have gained the knowledge necessary to empower and provide quality services to a wide variety of individuals.
Q: What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?
A: My health issues made driving to, attending and even sitting through classes very difficult. I am grateful to KU’s staff and professors who were supportive and understanding and worked with me to ensure I was able to continue getting a quality education despite my limitations.
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: My proudest accomplishment was earning my Bachelor of Social Work through KU in 2016 despite the health challenges of myself and other family members. I will soon consider my MSW to be one of my greatest accomplishments!
Q: What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?
A: At the end of my first summer class in the MSW program, our professors organized a pot luck. Students were able to bring dishes from their culture and share about why each dish was important to them. This was a really fun experience as I was able to learn more about my classmates and sample incredible, unique cuisines! I am proud to be part of a school which encourages and celebrates student diversity.
Q: What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
A: My goal is to provide counseling to people with severe long term and chronic illness, though I am also interested in continuing to work with children who have experienced severe trauma. I will be taking my licensure in June to become an LMSW [Licensed Master Social Worker], and hope to obtain my LSCSW [Licensed Clinical Social Worker] license in the years to come.
Q: What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?
A: I would say that determination and support are the two most important aspects of making it through school. It’s extremely important to be internally motivated, but you also need support, whether from friends and family, classmates, or school faculty. With these two elements, anyone can be successful in earning a degree!