Nikki McNeil is just months away from completing a Master’s program in Social Work at University of Maryland, Baltimore after receiving scholarship assistance from Central Scholarship.
Since 2015, Nikki has paired her ongoing education with firsthand work experience throughout Baltimore and in Chile. In her current internship at the Southeast Community Development Corporation, she is working as a community organizer in a community that is 70% Latino. In her time with Southeast CDC, Nikki has referred homebuyers to mortgage plans, assisted the neighborhood association with community events including clean-ups, planned a six-week health-themed after-school program for students and parents, and received funding for a community vegetable garden allowing Ecuadorian families to share their farming experience with other residents. Her ongoing course studies include gentrification, racism, organizational research, fundraising, as well as preparation for licensing exams.
Nikki is the recipient of Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Foundation Scholars Grant at Central Scholarship. The fund helps students in Master’s program in the social work or mental health fields, pursuing a career as a bilingual specialist in those fields.
After graduation this Spring, Nikki hopes to work as a case manager for Spanish-speaking adults, eventually attaining a leadership role in support of Latin American immigrants.
In her own words: “Each and every day, the most I can be proud of is taking the next step, as long as it is the biggest and boldest step within my reach. A Baltimore pastor decided to take the next step and teach a college student about the history of his city, a homeless advocate took the next step to invite me to hand out coffee at downtown encampments, and victims of a Chilean fire took the next step to reach out to an American girl at their shelter. What these individuals gave to me through their wisdom and experiences, and what I gain through my education, I intend to invest fully at every step along my journey.”