Update since we published this story in 2017: Megan Walker, '19, Social Welfare, plans to continue working at the Metropolitan Development Council in the mental health field. She ultimately plans to return to school and pursue a master’s degree. Walker and her partner are expecting their first child in July.
Megan Walker wanted to challenge herself. The then-24-year-old had an associate’s degree under her belt and worked a good job at the post office in Muncie, Indiana. “I was kind of bored,” she said. “I also just wanted to get out of Indiana because there’s not a lot going on there.”
Walker decided to enlist in the Navy. She served three years as an aviation electronics technician, most of that on the USS John C. Stennis. “I served in the damage control division,” she said. “It was my job to make sure all of the safety equipment onboard worked properly.”
Walker’s stint in the military saw her travel to different ports of call including South Korea, Singapore and Guam. She liked the routine of life at sea but ultimately decided not to make a career out of the Navy. “I’m a people person and I wanted something where I could more directly impact others.”
After three years spent traveling the world, Walker was in no rush to return home. The Stennis housed seven times as many people as her home town of Selma, Indiana – 5,700 people. Walker had been stationed out of Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton. She didn’t get to explore Washington much so she decided to stick around. “I’m from a small town and I wanted to live in a big city,” she said.
Walker decided to continue her education at UW Tacoma. She came to campus in January 2017 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social welfare. The choice of social welfare is personal for Walker. Her father died at the age of 46. “He suffered from chemical dependency,” she said. “My dad didn’t get the help he needed and I don’t want that for other people.” Walker did an internship at a nursing home. After graduation, she plans on working at either a long term care facility or a hospice.
Besides going to school, Walker also works for the Metropolitan Development Council at one of its evaluation and treatment centers. Her primary role is to assist with the care of individuals who are experiencing psychosis. The job is challenging but also rewarding. “It’s amazing to see the turnaround from when people are first brought in to when they get stabilized,” said Walker.
Megan Walker isn’t done challenging herself, although this time she doesn’t have to go very far. Campus is only a short drive away. Walker has found a home in her program, surrounded by like-minded people. “Social workers are a fun breed because they’re just so open and honest,” she said. “They’re just really good people.”
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org