Social Worker of the Year

by Public Relations

Every year, the Cedarville University Social Work Program holds an induction ceremony for the Phi Alpha Honor Society. This nationally recognized society promotes academic and professional excellence in the social work field. The society’s purposes include furthering the goals of social work around the world, encouraging continued study and research at all levels and recognizing professional social workers who are respected for their service and leadership.

To honor those respected professionals, the Cedarville University chapter offers a Social Worker of the Year award annually. This person is both nominated and chosen by students who have seen firsthand their contributions to the social work field. This year, Cedarville students chose Karie Mann.

Mann has served the students and faculties of West Carrollton Middle School since April 2000 and is a field instructor for Cedarville students. She was nominated for this award because her students have seen the passion she has for social work and the difference she’s made in the world. When she was presented with her award, she encouraged students to persevere.

“I sat down several times trying to come up with some words of wisdom, and I quickly became overwhelmed with how blessed I really am to be in the profession of social work,” she said. “And I want us to be clear that social work is a profession. Please don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Don’t feel defeated when people think your job is easy. It means you make it look easy. Not everyone can do your job.”

She made it clear that social work is a profession and one with a code of ethics to be proud of. “Throughout your career, you will have many opportunities to sit at the table with people in various professions. You will all be discussing the same client, the same family or the same situation and you will often find you’re the only one who is willing to speak up and question the decisions being made … What you have to say is important, and our clients depend on you to be their voice when they are unable to speak.”

She also took the opportunity to encourage the students going into this demanding profession. “Social workers are human beings,” she said. “It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, to cry …  to say ‘I don’t know,’ to say ‘no,’ to misplace your magic wand and to feel happiness even when those around you are suffering. Remain compassionate, spread hope, practice peace, and most importantly honor our profession by being professional and challenge others to do the same.”

She closed by quoting Mary Anne Radmacher, “Everyone has a story … have the patience to listen, the wisdom to learn.” Then she added, “And for those who struggle in telling their stories, be their voice, help them find their voice and listen to their stories after you have empowered them to use it.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,300 undergraduate, graduate, and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at