Grad student uses experiences to prepare for success


Rheanna Pierce, a second-year graduate student at Wichita State University, didn't know how incredible her experience at WSU would be until she dove right in to a semester of applied learning geared toward her major in Social Work.

Rheanna is gaining hands-on experience through a practicum with Rise Up for Youth Inc., a Wichita nonprofit that helps students motivate and inspire the upcoming generations and set them up for success for things such as work ethic and life skills.

Rheanna says she has not only learned a lot about networking through this experience, but how she has also gained real-life experiences helping those who are part of such a vulnerable population.

She helps those that have gone through difficult problems such as sexual assault and neglect.

“I feel like applied learning is so important because when you get out into the real world, not everything's textbook,” she says. “It's so different when I'm sitting there with a girl telling me her story and she's 16. There's so much emotion in it. If I didn't have that applied learning, I don't think I would be as good when I graduate because I don't have that experience.”

After graduation, Rheanna says she would like to be a CEO of a nonprofit in a political area.

Her advice to anyone thinking about going into this area is to just go for it.

“It feels kind of like you're looking at a pool and the water is cold, but once you jump right in, you're just fine,” she says. “The anxiety of thinking, ‘Can I handle this, and school and putting everything together?' But once you get into the flow of everything, I am so glad that they make us do [the applied learning] because I don't think I'd be as great as I am without this experience.” 

Have a great story for us to tell? Let us know.