During his undergraduate years at Kentucky State University, Berrac Strode didn’t think a graduate education would be a part of his future. But, UofL’s HBCU Cardinal Express to Success program helped redefine his goals, and Strode went on to complete a Master of Science in Social Work in May 2021.
The program is designed to increase the number of advanced social work practitioners of color through recruitment and education of students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
UofL News talked to Strode about the impact of this program and how it helped him pursue his career goals.
UofL News: How has the HBCU Cardinal Express to Success Program benefited you, specifically?
Strode: The HBCU Cardinal Express to Success Program opened the doors to opportunities that I had never considered. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to attend grad school. The most notable benefit was the streamlined process of going from undergrad to graduate school. As a person of color graduating from a HBCU, I internally limited my grad school options. The program broadened my options and showed me there were many more possibilities than once considered. The HBCU Cardinal Express to Success Program gave me confidence and reassurance that I could complete a graduate program.
UofL News: Why are programs like this needed?
Strode: Programs like this are needed because of the stress and overwhelming task and ‘hoops’ that are associated with moving from undergrad to graduate school. This program gave structure to a complicated process. Programs like this are needed to help give individuals who are ‘on the fence’ the extra push that they need to attend grad school.
UofL News: What is your career goal?
Strode: Currently I am working as a therapist for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities at a community mental health organization in Lexington called New Vista. My future career goal is to obtain my LCSW and open a therapeutic practice serving at risk youth.
UofL News: Anything else you’d like to share?
Strode: I ran into financial and family issues that prompted me to drop out after two semesters. After a year hiatus, I was contacted by UofL and assisted with re-enrolling and completing the MSSW program.