Talynn Johnson
Talynn Johnson

Undergraduate senior Talynn Johnson says choosing UofL was an easy choice with support from the Woodford R. Porter Scholarship, and in knowing she was headed to one of the best social work schools in Kentucky. She describes her Cardinal experience and aspiration to help families and children throughout the Bluegrass in this brief UofL News Q&A.

Tell us about your journey to Louisville.

I am from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and knew I wanted to attend school not too far from home. My older sister attended UofL, so the university was not a stranger to our household. Considering my choice of the social work major, I knew UofL would be a great fit because the Kent School was one of the top social work programs in the state. Also, the Woodford R. Porter Scholarship allowed me the great opportunity to attend school at little to no cost. With all of these factors, UofL was the best fit for me.

You’re involved in many leadership and mentoring opportunities. Talk about those, please.

The Woodford Porter Scholarship has produced a community for Porter Scholars to feel empowered and focuses on service, scholarship, heritage and leadership. As a Porter Scholar, I have to be able to maintain my focus and drive towards my education. 

I’m also involved in C.O.N.E.C.T. That stands for Caring of New Students Experiencing College Transition. CONECT has given me the opportunity to mentor incoming African American students. This past year was tricky due to COVID-19 restrictions, but I enjoyed helping and guiding my mentees. CONECT is a team effort that involves our advisors, mentors and mentees. I’m thankful to be a part of a great team.

Another mentorship experience is the President’s Council Mentoring Program. It is a one-year program that matches students with a mentor in our desired career field. This year, my mentor Ben Langley and I collaborated to expand my opportunities in social work. I definitely enjoy meeting with him and networking with other professionals. Through this program, I have decided that I want to work with children and families in Kentucky. 

What is the student experience like at UofL?

There is always something to do or someone to see. I’m grateful for the variety of RSOs here on campus because it gives students the opportunity to branch out on campus and in the community. 

How did you become interested in social work?

I was watching Netflix one day and came across the show “Girls Incarcerated,” which centered around an Indiana juvenile corrections facility. Seeing how much the ladies’ social worker had an impact on their lives during and after incarceration inspired me. After I did some research on local and state facts, I decided social work would be the perfect fit for me. In social work, I am able to serve my community, help children and families and promote social justice all in one profession. 

What are your long-term goals?

After completion of my BSW, I will be working under the Public Child Welfare Certification Program for two years in Kentucky. I have hopes of earning a MSW, and eventually a PhD in social work. There is a strong need for social workers in Kentucky, so my biggest plan is to serve my community to the best of my ability. 

This story originally appeared on the Kent School for Social Work website here.