Although Hayden Spurgeon plans to pursue her master’s degree in social work at the University of Houston, her ultimate goal is to someday return to Athens and Ohio University to pursue her professional career.
Spurgeon is graduating a year early with dual degrees in social work and women’s gender and sexuality as well as a minor in psychology. It’s safe to say Spurgeon made the most of her time at OHIO — and that OHIO equally had a positive, lasting effect on her.
“College has allowed me to open my mind to new things and new possibilities and it also made me appreciate and develop a love to learn new things,” she said. “I have become a stronger leader who is fired up to make changes in this world and promote social justice. I have become a more patient, open-minded, understanding and all-around better human because of Ohio University.”
Spurgeon credits the Department of Social Work within the College of Health Sciences and Professions for educating her with the skillset, knowledge and values to help her in her goals. She said she has learned resiliency, critical thinking and advocacy techniques along with the fundamentals needed to advance to graduate school.
When asked to reflect on her favorite memory at OHIO, Spurgeon’s thoughts centered on Ohio University’s LGBT Center.
“Working for the LGBT Center offered me so many opportunities and professional growth. Specifically, helping plan and build the first ever Homecoming float for the Center and winning first place was the most memorable,” she said. “Also, I loved living in Athens during the summer; walking out on my tree-hidden porch to the smell of Union Street Diner and the sound of bird chirping was my absolute favorite.”
Spurgeon noted that OHIO faculty members Sarah Webb and Juanita Hall especially impacted her educational career.
“Sarah Webb was my seminar professor and showed me how to be the most caring, empathetic social worker while giving me all the support in the world. She was encouraging, patient, understanding and has helpful as she can be while giving me the best education. I am so glad to have gotten to learn from and complete my senior field practicum under her,” Spurgeon said.
“Juanita Hall taught me American Sign Language and truly cares for each individual student, wanting to share her knowledge of ASL the best way she knows how,” she added. “Juanita made me feel valuable as a student and truly wanted the best for me as a student.
Spurgeon plans to join an advanced standing Master of Social Work program with a specialization in social work at the University of Houston. She hopes to begin a long career in social work upon graduation from the master’s program.