Sarah Johnson is the new Director of BSW Student Services at the School of Social Work. She is a 2019 Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate from Illinois State University and also holds a Masters of Public Administration from Roosevelt University and Bachelor of Science in Public Service and Administration from Iowa State University. Before coming to the Illinois State University School of Social Work as a member of staff this August, she gained years of direct social work practice experience in the field. She conducted crisis intervention services and therapy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence as Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Outreach Therapist at the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria. She was also a Family Care Worker at the Center for Youth and Family Solutions, acting as a liaison between families, court, and service providers. While obtaining her Master of Social Work from Illinois State University, she was the graduate assistant of then Director of BSW Student Services Jerey McKinney. Let’s get know Sarah.

Why social work?

While I would like to say that I chose social work, the reality is that social work chose me. Prior to this field, I worked in a technical field and did not get the connection with people that I wanted. I had the opportunity to work in child welfare before earning my second Masters and realized social work was my calling. I am drawn to people and love to connect and invest my time and energy with them. I thoroughly enjoyed the direct service as a therapist and know I will love the connections made with Illinois State University students and their families.

What will you be doing as the Director of BSW Student Services at the School of Social Work?

My goals are to continue providing support and resources for all current and prospective Illinois State University School of Social Work students. I strive to be an advocate and liaison for students, families, Illinois State University, and the community. I want to continue recruiting and retaining a diverse student population that has the desire and ability to carry the social work field to new levels. I also want to help guide change agents who want a better world filled with peace, equity and justice for all.

The most important part of this job is the students. My entire goal is to be a resource and ensure the success of students in and outside of the social work major. I realize that each person I come across will be unique with their own story, needs, and dreams. I want to aid in ensuring that everyone reaches the goals they set out to achieve. Any goal is possible with the right support and some creativity.

Are you happy to be coming back as a Redbird alum to be part of the Illinois State University staff?

I am ecstatic to be back on campus! I love the energy that this place gives. I love being surrounded by all the students ready to take on life and change the world.

What are your passions outside of social work?

I have a one year old yorkie, that I love. His name is Oringo (Ori for short). I enjoy reading, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.