Social work teams up with engineering for Spring Break Mission Trip

September 25, 2017
Spring Break Laredo

Spring Break in the Mission Field

Jennifer Dickey from the Garland School of Social Work and Brian Thomas from the School of Engineering and Computer Science collaborated on a multidisciplinary approach to student education and social service, informed by the Christian faith. The team took 26 social work and engineering students to Laredo, Texas, to assess and support the services already being provided to persons who are migrating from desperate situations in their countries.

They offered discipline-specific teaching and service activities during the day and utilized the evenings for cross-disciplinary collaboration among their students. Students had the opportunity to participate on interdisciplinary teams and provide their academic perspective to others, diversifying the way they approach community challenges and solutions.

"As a social work student, I love learning about the ways communities organize to meet needs," Jenna Hampton, BSW student, said. "I wanted to spend Spring Break in Laredo ... to listen to perspectives on immigration. It is one thing to learn facts and theories in the classroom, but quite another to see them applied in real life."

Eighteen students, along with faculty and guests, took an inaugural interdisciplinary mission trip to Athens, Greece, to address the complex challenge of the refugee crisis in Europe.

Recognizing this is a problem that requires a multidisciplinary approach, Baylor brought together four schools from across campus. Five students from the GSSW worked with the local church to conduct asset mapping, a process that could provide the refugees a roadmap to being freed from poverty. Two students from the journalism, public relations and new media department worked on a project that aims to change how the West views refugees. Three students from Truett Seminary worked with the local church to increase its footprint in the city and better position it to respond to the evolving needs of refugees. Eight students from the Hankamer School of Business worked to establish a business incubator to help refugees turn their ideas into businesses.