Two KU students join state social work boards

LAWRENCE – Two social work students from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare are serving on state boards of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

KU student Ella Hinson portrait near blooming flowers on Lawrence campus.

Ella Hinson, a senior from Olathe who is in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at the KU Edwards Campus, is the BSW student representative for the NASW Kansas Chapter Board of Directors. Thomas Way, a senior from Kansas City, Missouri, who is in the BSW program at the Lawrence campus, is the BSW student representative for the NASW Missouri Chapter.

As board members, Hinson and Way help make sure policy decisions that shape social work practice in Kansas and Missouri are made with social work students in mind. They also work with fellow board members on the chapters’ goals for the year.

“I knew getting involved would give me the opportunity to work and learn from social workers who are making positive impacts on the social work community,” Hinson said. “I wanted to see and be a part of the work this committee does to advocate for policy reform.”

Hinson was inspired to get involved with NASW after attending Social Work Advocacy Day last spring in Topeka. KU students who attend the annual event learn advocacy skills, meet legislators and attend a legislative committee meeting.

“I left that day empowered to do policy work,” Hinson said.

Hinson will help plan the 2024 Social Work Advocacy Day as part of her work with the NASW-Kansas board. The Kansas chapter is also advocating for an interstate compact that aims to make social work services more accessible.

KU student Thomas Hinson self-portrait, clearing and trees in background.

In his work with the NASW Missouri board, Way said he is focused on being available and accountable to the BSW students he represents. At board meetings, Way brings BSW student needs to the board’s attention and aims to “voice any potential benefits, or unforeseen consequences, that NASW-MO's advocacy efforts may have on BSW students,” he said.

“So many of my peers are in BSW programs to fulfill their vision of a more just and equitable world, and I've honestly been so inspired by the ways in which students are there for each other as we guide the profession to better reflect its values,” Way said.

Way hopes to see BSW student membership in NASW increase, “so more students can use their voice to shape the future of the profession,” he said. Way is working on providing ways for BSW students to engage with policy advocacy within NASW and for the upcoming legislative session in Missouri.

Photos: Ella Hinson, Thomas Way.

Fri, 01/12/2024


Margaret Hair

Media Contacts

Margaret Hair

School of Social Welfare