Student Spotlight

Graduation Spotlight: Daija Wade, Social Work

Written By: Lasha Markham | May 1, 2024

Daija Wade in cap and gownMeet Daija Wade. After finding a passion for helping people in her early college career, she’s following in the footsteps of her mother – who is a social worker – to also pursue a career in social work. In her free time, she coaches basketball for a traveling team for high school aged students. Through this experience she has the ability to work with a population she enjoys and see different parts of the country. After graduation, she plans to continue working at Vitas Healthcare, primarily focusing on grief counseling, particularly for families and individuals in hospice.

Hometown: Orlando, FL

Degree: Master of Social Work


What will you be doing after graduation?

I will enter the field as a medical social worker at Vitas Healthcare, providing services to families and individuals in hospice. During my time at Vitas, I will work towards completing my supervision hours so that I can sit for the licensure exam within the next two years. Along with establishing myself within my career, I plan to focus on establishing and growing a nonprofit, which will be tailored towards providing food, clothing, and other resources to individuals facing challenges in life and who are homeless.


What are your long-term career plans?

I would love to branch out into the entrepreneurial space and open a gymnasium. The gymnasium would allow at-risk youth to play sports and receive free counseling services under one roof. It would also be used to host sports and community events.


Daija Wade coachingWhat accomplishment from your time at UCF are you most proud of?

One of my main accomplishments at UCF was having the opportunity to train individuals about domestic violence through AmeriCorps! Learning about such a vulnerable population and teaching it to others can be challenging but rewarding. I look forward to seeing how I can implement my training in my future career.


What did you love the most about your time at UCF?

The social work program was a fantastic experience. I established new relationships and long-term friendships, and I received wonderful guidance from the professors throughout the program. The program was filled with research, resources, and growth opportunities with minimum limitations. I would not have wanted to complete my program at any other university!


What was your favorite class, professor, or experience at CHPS, and why?

Dr. Shawn Lawrence was one of my favorite professors in the social work program as a graduate and undergraduate student. The passion and drive behind a class can make or break a student. Still, Dr. Lawrence ensured that every student who entered any of her classes came out with a different mindset and perspective to build upon their competence of being a successful social worker. Dr. Lawrence created a space where I was forced to unlock another level of myself as a student I did not know was present. The opportunity to unlock another level of myself allowed me to grow as a student and an upcoming professional. I am where I am today in this program with her consistent challenge and push! Thank you for your – YES, Dr. Lawrence!!

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