UM-Flint student Edmonds elected to NASW-MI board of directors

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Advocating for others is a family legacy for Cami Edmonds. Her parents were active members of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, marching and protesting against injustice. Many members of Edmonds' family are educators who work hard to provide their students the best opportunities for success. That kind of upbringing undoubtedly had an impact on Edmonds, eventually guiding her to study social work in college. 

"I was always looking out for people that were coming from behind me or someone I needed to pull up. We were always giving back to the community," she said. 

After transferring to the University of Michigan-Flint her sophomore year, Edmonds wasted no time immersing herself in the profession. She got involved with the Michigan chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as a student ambassador, promoting the profession on campus and connecting with students and professionals throughout the state. Now, as a senior Bachelor of Social Work student living in Detroit, Edmonds is taking her involvement to the next level, having recently been elected to the NASW-MI board of directors as the BSW student representative. 

"It's an honor that I was chosen and people put enough trust in me to say, 'We trust that you can do this job,'" said Edmonds, who focused her campaigning efforts on various social work Facebook groups of which she is a member. 

NASW is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. Its mission is to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, create and maintain professional standards, and advance sound social policies. 

Edmonds looks forward to sharing the collective voice of undergraduate social work students in Michigan as she steps into her new role. 

"This position is different than just representing your school because we have two other student ambassadors at UM-Flint. Now this is a statewide position and I'm responsible for everyone," said Edmonds. "It's important for me to keep relationships with my classmates and other students so that I can make a collective presentation and share how students in various social work programs in Michigan truly feel about issues as they arise." 

Edmonds will work closely with social work practitioners and educators, as well as her fellow students. Rae Johnson, the coordinator of fieldwork for Oakland University's social work program and president-elect of NASW-MI, believes that student involvement is crucial for the health of the profession and the professional development of learners. 

Rae Johnson

"By empowering students to take an active role in shaping the organization's vision and direction, we not only foster a sense of ownership and accountability but also ensure that the needs and concerns of emerging social workers are represented and addressed," said Johnson. 

Connections, experience and growth are hallmarks of Edmond's UM-Flint experience. While completing her degree online, she has felt a distinct sense of belonging at the university, thanks in large part to dedicated professors and advisors. "Everyone at UM-Flint is very intentional about making people feel comfortable and wanted," she said. 

The same faculty members that Edmonds credits with being instrumental in her development as a future social worker are quick to recognize her as a rising star and a perfect fit for her new role. Kayla Bueby, UM-Flint clinical assistant professor of social work, said that Edmonds' involvement will lead to better outcomes for social work clients statewide.

Kayla Bueby

"Cami has consistently demonstrated a commitment to social justice and advocacy, making her an outstanding representative of our program. Her strong leadership skills and genuine empathy make her a standout among her peers, and we are confident that she will make significant contributions to the board and the wider Michigan social work community."  

When Edmonds came to UM-Flint, she was not only a transfer student but also new to studying social work. She needed support to ensure she was on track and guidance as to which aspect of the wide profession she should focus on. Todd Womack, UM-Flint social work program manager, helped Edmonds find that her true passion in social work is impacting large groups in a school setting. 

Todd Womack

"Cami often challenges the status quo by asking relevant questions regarding positionality and equity. Her lived experience allows her to empathize and problem-solve in an effort to bring about social justice and well-being for all," Womack said. 

In addition to her position with NASW-MI and completing her final year of coursework, Edmonds will be interning with the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center, a Detroit-based organization offering learning services to children and adults. And while she has accomplished a lot during her short time at UM-Flint, Edmonds isn't focused on what these experiences will do for her future. Rather, she looks forward to what her efforts will do for her future clients. 

"It's not so much if I'm going to get anything; it's more about helping the people that I'm serving because they're the ones who are in need. I want to be as effective as I possibly can, and these opportunities are a way to get me connected to people that I can learn from," said Edmonds. 

"All of this just builds up my toolbox to help the people that I serve." 

More information about UM-Flint's Bachelor of Social Work can be found on the program's webpage.

Logan McGrady is the marketing & digital communication manager for the Office of Marketing and Communication.