Ann StockWhile completing an AmeriCorps year of service at Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ann Stock was brought squarely into the social work framework through the close relationships she developed with staff members. "I looked up to the women who were in leadership positions at MCC. I really admired how they conducted themselves and how they impacted the lives and health of mothers and children. They all came from a social work background, and they really inspired me to pursue that tradition," Stock says.

In the Social Administration Concentration at SSA, Stock continued to find inspiration through her professors—particularly Associate Professors Scott Allard,  Evelyn Brodkin, and Assistant Professor Alida Bouris. Brodkin is the faculty advisor for the Poverty and Inequality Program of Study which Stock completed.

"What's amazing about SSA is the way that everything is connected. There are wonderful professors who give so much meaning to what is going on in our fieldwork. The theory connects with the social problems. You are able to talk about issues in a thoughtful way that ties all of your work and studies together. I couldn't have asked for better fieldwork and work study placements than such sites as Inspiration Corporation, the Erikson Institute, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund," Stock says.

Her classmates had also been an important part of her SSA education. "The people I have met in my cohort and in my classes have been amazing. Their talents as clinicians, community organizers, and policy analysts are truly inspiring. I am happy to know that my friends are all going out into the world to really effect change," Stock says.

Stock began effecting change as a child growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, in part through the urban ministries of Central Presbyterian Church in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. "Some of my early formative experiences were working with both other youth and church leaders at the church's homeless shelter and to support the ordination of LGBTQ pastors and elders. I then attended Oberlin College in Ohio, where I met other students, staff, and faculty who were carrying on the school's unique history of social activism and change," Stock says.

Having now lived in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Chicago, Stock said she is looking forward to moving to yet another great city. After graduating from SSA in June, Stock is heading to Washington DC to begin a two-year paid government fellowship in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. With a mandate to help states establish Health Information Exchanges in order to better coordinate patient care, Stock will work as a Program Analyst for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

"Being at SSA has expanded my perspective about the best ways to reduce poverty. Through my coursework and field placements, I've seen how many social problems go hand in hand. Early childhood education, for example, can make an impact in the long run. I also find health care and systems-building work to be fascinating. At HHS, I'll be helping to bring stakeholders to the table to build systems that will hopefully really make a difference, benefit people, and streamline healthcare. It's a really exciting opportunity for me," Stock says.