Professor's perseverance pays off
September 23, 2019
A decade ago, Emily Carrothers BSW ’13, MSW ’16, attended King’s for her Bachelors of Social Work (BSW). This fall she returned to campus as a part-time professor, teaching Evaluation for Social Work Practice for fourth-year BSW students.
The return is “an honour,” says Carrothers. “It’s been my dream to work here, supporting the development of the social work profession in a place offering such an incredible community.”
Carrothers has a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from King’s and looks to add a PhD from Western University’s Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research to her resume. Preparing for her candidacy examination in February 2020, she anticipates defending her dissertation in 2022.
In September 2009, after the birth of her first daughter, Carrothers began studying part-time, taking one class a semester. “I felt completely overrun with schoolwork and new parenthood, but I knew that if I persevered it would be worth it,” she says.
Then, in 2011, life threw her another curve ball when her father died. “I remember thinking, “I cannot possibly continue all of this,’” she says. After telling Social Work professor Amanda Topham she would likely be leaving the program, Carrothers was reassured that, with some accommodations, she could finish.
It took another three years of juggling life and parenting as she completed her BSW. When a professor Dora Tam mentioned applying for her masters, Carrothers was so excited about the idea that couldn’t stop thinking about it. By then she was a mother of three children under the age of five, so she was understandably nervous about how she would manage her responsibilities as she put together her application package.
Her determination pushed her forward. “I wrote entire papers while nursing babies. I set my computer up on a shelf in my newborn son’s room so that I could type while rocking him to sleep,” she explains.
Between school, family and working, she found a way to continue. She squeezed in playdates, music and swim lessons with her courses, research and executive work. She worked nights at a women’s shelter around her partner’s schedule to pay for childcare. She received her MSW in June 2016, giving birth to her fourth child just days after Convocation.
Now, back on campus she is realistic about the challenge or teaching while raising a young family. “I occasionally feel like I cannot juggle it all. Other times, I feel incredibly fulfilled,” she says.
In addition to her own hard work, Carrothers credits support from King’s, Western, family, friends and employers. “King’s offers personal interactions between faculty and students. Had I been somewhere larger, I would have left school and likely never returned. At King’s, those juggling a family or job can reach out to their professors and to academic counsellors. We are here to help you to succeed and do it in a way that ensures your well-being. King’s absolutely focusses on student achievement.”
For more information on the School of Social Work, please visit https://socialwork.kings.uwo.ca/