Student Story

Julie Tokarowski '21 Combines Social Work with Female Empowerment

Where are you from and what's your major?

I'm from Worcester, MA and my major is social work. I'm hoping to also complete my MSW at Simmons in 2022!

Why did you decide to come to Simmons?

Julie Tokarowski and her friends at Cottey College

After graduating from Cottey College with my Associate of Arts, I took about two years off from school and lived in New Mexico, where I became interested in the high recidivism rate in New Mexico prison systems and transitional housing for women. I loved working with such a dynamic population and connecting with women in a socially aware environment. This experience made me look into social work and begin to consider moving back to Massachusetts in order to pursue these goals. Simmons' women's-centered environment is the perfect encapsulation of my intentions within the field of social work and female empowerment.

How did your experience at Cottey College prepare you for Simmons?

Cottey gave me the empowerment to make concrete steps toward my dreams, the knowledge of living and learning in a women's-only environment, and the drive to help other women find their own voice. Simmons reminded me of the environment at Cottey with the added opportunities of living in a city, so it made sense to me from the moment I toured.

Tell us about your experience transferring to Simmons.

Transitioning to Simmons was a straightforward process with a personal admissions representative who answered all of my transfer-related questions. All of my credits transferred except for a few very specific, Cottey-unique classes like Aquacises, Astronomy 101, and Voice-performance class. I was thrilled to see that Simmons accepted even a few of my obscure classes under philosophy, anthropology, and sociology. My advisor, Eugenia Knight, was a great help in aiding my unconventional journey within the School of Social Work.

It can be challenging to be a transfer student who is new to the community, but there are so many opportunities to find what interests you and you’ll begin to create your own Simmons experience!

What made you choose to pursue social work at Simmons?

Headshot of Julie Tokarowski

I chose social work at Simmons based on the fantastic opportunities and internships built into the curriculum. Within the program, students begin field placements the second semester of their junior year and then have a full year of field placements during their senior year. So far, I’ve worked with the Salvation Army Foodbank in the South End and will begin my senior year placement at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center in Cambridge. I’ve been able to forge so many connections through this program and highly recommend it to prospective social work majors.

What advice would you give to other students considering transferring to Simmons?

My advice to other transfer students is to save every syllabus and don't get discouraged if you don't feel settled in immediately. It can be challenging to be a transfer student who is new to the community, but there are so many opportunities to find what interests you and you’ll begin to create your own Simmons experience!

What is your favorite Simmons memory?

My favorite Simmons memory is finding my niche with other social work students and working with the Violence Prevention and Educational Outreach (VPEO) office. This office helps advocate for students facing intimate partner violence, presents educational programs to minimize violence, and increases awareness within the Simmons community. I was hired by the VPEO and have thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam Fox and other student advocates.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I’m a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to begin teaching virtually with an organization based out of Boston called Hands to Heart Center. Hands to Heart Center is a non-profit that helps remove barriers between people living in poverty and access to trauma-sensitive yoga for all.

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