Alumni Spotlight: Chrissi White '10 '11
Chrissi White was in high school when she decided UCF was the place for her. Born in New York, Chrissi and her family – including her older sister – moved to Coral Springs, a city near Fort Lauderdale, when she was in the fourth grade.
Later, as Chrissi toured colleges with an eye on becoming a nurse (like her sister), she said she was drawn to UCF because she “didn’t want to be too far from home.”
Chrissi began studying nursing, but somewhere along the way, she experienced a different calling. She was interested in health care, but she was looking for something else. Chrissi met with Robin Kohn, the undergraduate program director for the School of Social Work, who suggested she consider social work in a health care setting.
“I became a social worker because of her,” Chrissi said. As an undergraduate student, Chrissi earned an internship at the Seminole County Juvenile Detention Center, and was offered full-time employment post-graduation.
“Chrissi was fairly quiet when she first began the social work program,” said Kohn. “But, one could tell she was listening and eventually began participating in class discussions. She was a bright student who expressed an interest in health settings, and I am glad to hear she is at Florida Hospital and working as part of the transplant team. That is a difficult position and it takes someone highly organized and willing to work with some of the most ill patients.
Chrissi was also able to continue working at the detention center as she worked toward her master’s degree in social work. UCF offers an advanced standing program for recently graduated BSW students. Graduate students in the program can complete their MSW in one year instead of two.
Through an internship at Winter Park Memorial Hospital (one of Florida Hospital’s campuses), Chrissi found herself inching closer toward her dream job, and was, in fact, offered a position there.
While a student, Chrissi also found time to join Kappa Kappa Gamma; her sorority sisters continue to be a big part of her life. It was through Greek life that she met her husband, Colin. Chrissi, Colin and their friends continue to get together, and especially love Knight sporting events.
“UCF never felt like a ‘commuter school’ to me,” Chrissi said, referencing a silly rumor that’s been floating around about UCF. “It felt like a great college experience to me.”
Chrissi said that the professors in the School of Social Work were “so well versed in their profession. There was lots of meaningful discussion in class representing different points of view.”
Those different points of view have translated well to her professional life: each transplant case is unique, Chrissi said. She continues to feel amazed and inspired by the stories of her courageous patients, whom she meets when they are going through a time of devastating uncertainty. It is clear to see that Chrissi has found her dream job. She agrees: “UCF really changed my life.”
By Camille Dolan ’98
All About Your Career
What do you do? I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker on the Transplant team at Florida Hospital.
Why do you do what you do? I went into Social Work because I wanted to help people. I enjoy being able to advocate for and support my clients in their time of need. I also enjoy encouraging and developing their sense of self-determination during their tough times.
What do you like most about your job? Most Social Workers only get to see their clients at a time of need or crisis. What I love most about my job is I get to witness the positive transformation an organ transplant can have on somebody’s life.
ALL ABOUT YOU
What do you do for fun? I love crafting and hanging out with friends.
What makes you laugh out loud? I am a pretty easy person to make laugh. Everything from standup comedy to my husband trying to do impressions will get a hard belly laugh out of me.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? If I had to attempt another profession I think it would probably be something in tourism or event planning. Although I know its hard work, the thought making people happy on vacation or through the successful completion of an event seems rewarding.
What is the last thing you Googled? The time of the next UCF football game. Go Knights!
What has been your favorite city or country to visit? My favorite place I have visited is Costa Rica. The rainforest is a very beautiful place and is full of life and adventure.
What has been the best meal of your life so far? I would have to say the best meal of my life was on my honeymoon. It was a 5-course private dinner in a wine cellar that was completely customized for my husband and I. Basically, the head chef asked what we liked and what we didn’t like and created a unique experience that we will never forget.
What is the happiest and/or proudest moment of your life? I would say the happiest moment of my life is when I got to marry my husband who is also a Knight. The proudest moment is when I became a LCSW. It is a long two-year process that includes continued education, supervision hours and passing a national exam. It was something I worked very hard for and was proud when all my hard work paid off.
What is your favorite quote? “Be the change you wish to see in the world”
What is the last book you read? Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. She is one of my favorite authors because she shares the story from different characters perspectives and there are always twists that you never see coming.
ALL ABOUT YOUR CONNECTION TO UCF
Why did you choose to attend UCF? I grew up in south Florida and knew I wanted to leave south Florida without going too far from home. Being the youngest of my siblings to attend a Florida school, I was looking to create my own path. I went on a college tour with my high school and when I saw the campus, I knew UCF would be the place I wanted to be.
How has your UCF degree helped in your career? I would not be where I am professionally without UCF. During my Bachelors and Masters programs, UCF helped me obtain great internships that both lead to employment. The opportunities I was given at UCF jump started my career and lead me to the career I have today.
What extracurricular activities were you involved in at UCF? Kappa Kappa Gamma, Order of Omega, Phi Alpha Honor Society
What is your favorite UCF memory? It’s hard for me to pick one memory as a favorite. It was really the compilation of all the time I spent at UCF that made a mark on my life. UCF allowed me to grow from the scared Freshman, who had never been away from home, to successful social worker who was reaching goals I never thought were possible. It wasn’t only the education, but the environment and people that made UCF a life changing experience for me. I was lucky to meet my closest friends and my husband during my time at UCF.
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to your fellow Knights? The most importance piece of advice I would give fellow Knights is don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. The world is a big place and you will never know who you will meet or what you will see.