Mother, daughter earn MSWs together

Jul 27, 2015

By Rena Malai, News staff

When Evelyn Scott’s daughter, Jasmine, told her they should go to graduate school together, she thought Jasmine was kidding.

Jasmine Scott, front, and her mother, Evelyn Scott, graduated together in May with MSWs from the North Carolina Central University social work program. Courtesy photo.

“It started as a joke,” Evelyn Scott said. “But going to grad school was on my bucket list, so we made a Christmas plan in 2013 to apply together.”

The Durham, N.C., residents and NASW members both graduated in May from the North Carolina Central University social work program with master’s degrees in social work.

The two-year journey to complete their degrees had plenty of bumps along the way, and at one point the pair almost gave up after Evelyn’s mother, Virginia Keith Scott, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Although she passed away before seeing her daughter and granddaughter graduate, it was her encouragement that made the Scotts stay the course.

Virginia Scott was a single parent — like her daughter — and instilled strong family values, Evelyn says. She was strong, and exemplified a warrior after her cancer diagnosis, she added.

“When we talked about taking a semester off to spend more time caring for her, she said ‘You will finish school,’ then went back to being silent,” Evelyn said. “Since she wasn’t talking a lot (during her illness), when she did she had everyone’s attention. We stayed in school.”

NASW-North Carolina Executive Director Kathy Boyd says it’s rare for a mother and daughter to pursue an MSW together.

“How special and meaningful to see two generations committed to service and the social work profession,” Boyd said. “And to be graduating together from the same program is just unique.”

The Scotts said social work has always been part of their lives on some level, even before they officially had the MSW. Evelyn Scott has been a therapeutic foster parent for the past 20 years, primarily for teenagers with mental health issues. The teenagers stay in her home for a period of time, and she teaches them the independent living skills they may need — such as cooking and budgeting — once they are out of the foster care system at 18 years of age.

From the July 2015 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story here.