30 in 30 Presents: Salma Ayaz (Week 13)

Salma Ayaz 30in30

Salma Ayaz

Education
BA, Sociology, UIC, 2014
MSW, Aurora University, Expected 2017

Current work
After researching graduate programs, Salma decided on a Masters of Social Work (MSW) because she felt the program best combined her love of psychology and sociology. Salma’s experience with sociology at UIC changed the way she saw the world and has led her down a different path than the one she started on. She currently attends Aurora University where she is working on her MSW.

How sociology changed Salma’s view of the world
Salma says that people are often unaware of what others experience, which makes it difficult to see beyond a narrow lens. Taking classes on race and gender helped her learn about the historical and current struggles that others experience, allowing her to become more aware and open-minded. Salma’s most memorable class was a 400-level race class with Dr. Amy Bailey. This advanced-level class not only increased her sociological knowledge, but prepared her for her master’s-level courses. Salma believes that everyone, despite their college major, could benefit from a sociology class in race and gender – it changes minds!

Advice for new students of sociology
Salma recommends paying attention in class, reading the material the professor gives you (yes, even you seniors!), and to attend professors’ office hours – they are there to help you. She thinks it is important to participate in class, especially when you have a unique perspective to offer.

What will Salma do with her MSW?
Passionate about working with children, Salma is completing a school social work emphasis through her MSW. Sociology helped her realize that because environment can impact one’s actions, working with kids while they are young can help change their lives and their patterns. As part of her master’s program, Salma interns at a local elementary school as a School Social Worker. As a social worker, she provides extra support for school children, helping them learn to interact better with others, control their anger and emotions, and learn to express themselves more adequately. Her responsibilities also involve working with all those who have an impact on the child, such as parents, teachers, and various agencies. This challenging job is both time-consuming and emotional, but interacting with the children and seeing positive breakthroughs has been extremely rewarding for her.

Down the road
Salma’s eventful past year getting married may seem just a prelude to her coming year’s graduation and relocation to Texas, where she hopes to find employment as a school social worker. Her passion to help traumatized children will eventually lead to the realization of her own private practice. In addition, Salma hopes to be able to contribute to her field through research, and perhaps instruction in a college class shaped by both sociology and psychology.

Interviewed by Jamie Yager

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