Student Story

Meet Linda Hinkle ’23DSW, Military Veteran and Doctor of Social Work Candidate

Why did you decide to attend Simmons for your doctoral degree in social work?

I did all of my education in east Tennessee. Although I enjoyed my studies, I was looking for a program that was going to offer me the kind of diversity that I could not find in Tennessee. I wanted the experience of not just being taught by someone from a diverse cultural background, but to be in class with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. And Simmons definitely afforded me that opportunity through the social work program.

I became aware of Simmons on social media, then started to research Simmons' faculty and the social work program, and I recognized the names of people who are out there on the forefront of things and kind of shaking things up, which is what I want to do. So I felt that I would be able to follow in their footsteps.

How has your military background prepared you to study at Simmons?

I have not faced anything in my life for which my military service has not prepared me. The hard work aspect that I honed in the military helps me in a very rigorous doctoral program, and I also learned work-life balance from being in the military. I have cultivated a very good work ethic which carries over to my classes.

What also prepared me is that I was around so many people from such diverse backgrounds, religions, and cultures. More than half of women veterans are from diverse cultural backgrounds. They are probably the most diverse group in the military, as compared to their male counterparts. I got to work alongside some amazing women and learned how to practice cultural humility. This is always going to benefit you in a social work program and in my job as a social worker.

How is Simmons preparing you to become a leader in your field?

I have a belief that the good things in life are great, but the struggles in life teach you more. I am the second cohort of the doctorate in social work program at Simmons. There will always be growing pains in a program so new, but I have encountered some great classes and wonderful professors in this program, which without a doubt will help form me even more as my journey continues. I think Simmons is preparing us to go out into the world.

In my current classes, we are talking a lot about radical social work, which speaks to my soul. I have had some amazing faculty members in this program who I feel like I want to grow up and be. Professor Karen Hinton-Polite is an amazing professor who teaches in a beautiful way, and I want to teach, too. I have some wonderful examples to carry forward.

Can you share a Simmons memory?

I am an online student. When I started this program, I wasn't sure what it was going to be like. I did not expect to make any lasting friendships, but that wasn't the case! I've met some of the most amazing friends and colleagues through this program and in my cohort. We have been on this journey together from the start, and that has been a gift to me. At the end of the first semester I got several emails from people in my program that said let's stay in touch and remain friends. Now I can honestly say that those are the people I talk to everyday. We've had each other's backs from the beginning of this program, and I'm so grateful to know them.

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