Q&A with MSW Intern of the Year, Clinical Practice: Mercy Babo
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Nigeria and have had the privilege to be in the US to further my education. I am blessed to have a loving family and incredible friends. I love spending time with my family and friends. I intentionally try to live a holistic life (spirit, mind, and body). I enjoy cooking and hosting because it offers me the opportunity to gather with new and old friends. I love serving my community by volunteering for outreach through my church. I love working out, reading good books, dancing, watching Schitt$ creeks funny moment compilations on YouTube, and hiking. I also enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and exploring our world. Traveling has made me more culturally sensitive and ignited my curiosity to approach people with humility because of our enriching cultural complexities. My love for cultures inspired my capstone presentation (The Recipe for Grieving: when culture is the secret ingredient). I always look for opportunities to serve, love and celebrate everyone I meet. If we ever had a conversation, I am sure it would be about how are you making yourself better (spirit, mind, and body), serving others, or effecting change in our world.
2. When did you begin classes at Baylor? Why did you choose Baylor social work?
I started my graduate program at the Diana R. Garland School of social work program August 2021 and it comes to an end in May 2023. I chose Baylor University because of the late Diana R. Garland as I will explain later. As a society, we always joke about how someone is listening in on our conversations because we are pursued by advertisements after talking about something. Well, that was what happened to me on December 11, 2020. After talking with an undergrad professor about life after graduation, I went on YouTube to watch a funny clip my friend had texted me. The next recommended clip that played was Diana R. Garland talking about what makes Baylor social work different. She talked about how the Baylor School of Social Work was dedicated to producing alumni who are influencing the social welfare of people, families, and communities through service and leadership by ethically integrating faith with practice, and in that moment, I knew I wanted to attend Baylor.
3. Why did you choose social work? Would you say social work is your “calling”? If so, why?
While in undergrad at Oral Roberts University, I remember talking to one of most phenomenal Professor I have ever met, Dr. Angela Watson, and sharing my dreams and goals with her. She said Mercy, I think you should look into getting a master’s in social work. Looking back, I believe majoring in psychology and minoring in communications helped me become a better version of myself, whereas social work took me out of myself and expanded my insights on how to better serve others so they can achieve a better life and become a better version of themselves. My calling is to serve people and social work equips me to empower people to make effective changes in their lives.
4. Do you have a minor in concentration/specialization? If so, what?
My specialization is in clinical social work. My internship opportunities have been tailored to providing addiction services.
5. Tell us what you are passionate about. Do you have any populations you enjoy working with or would like to?
I am passionate about helping children, adolescents, and young adults carve out their recovery process regarding their mental health using a holistic approach to enable them to overcome challenges to thrive.
6. Tell us about your internship/s, and what you have enjoyed about them (or learned from them).
Building on my experience working with addictions in my internship at Star of Hope, I am so grateful to have interned this past year at the Menninger Clinic. I could go on for an hour talking about how amazing my internship experience was, but I will not. I have been so fortunate to have a field instructor (Sonia Roschelli) and a task supervisor (Hayley Citro) that championed me to pursue excellence, created a space for me to ask all my questions, told me my blind spots, and emphasized my strengths. Learning from the astute clinicians on the compass unit and addictions track has been profound in helping me learn about diagnostic formulation which has deepened my curiosity and inspired me to serve my future patients with excellent care. The Menninger internship offers didactic trainings which have helped sharpen my learning as a clinician. From learning about DBT, mentalizing, family systems theory, psychodynamics, and attachment theory, I am also grateful to have had opportunities offered to solidify my learning. Additionally, the processing group with the stellar interns at my agency made space for me to keep my sanity, be encouraged, and inspired. I have learned the importance of a multi-disciplinary team, and how to be a team member which has helped me become more confident in my clinical voice. I have loved learning from brilliant clinicians who are kind, humble, and intentionally work from a patient-centered approach. I am honored to have walked alongside patients as they navigated their healing process while at Menninger.
7. What does this award mean to you?
First of all, I want to say how grateful and honored I am to be receiving this award. To be recognized by my supervisors and professors for my ability to effect change and serve with excellence, reinforces my calling into social work and the opportunity to bring healing to human lives. I am blessed to have had interned at Menninger and have the best supervisors to guide my path. This award also reflects the outstanding colleagues in all my classes who have inspired and encouraged me to serve my patients excellently and diligently.
8. What are your plans after graduation?
My plan after graduation is do take my licensing exam and then a vacation (whew, graduate school was intense!). I hope to secure a position that will enable me to apply and further my skills as a clinician to serve future clients. After obtaining my required clinical hours, I intend to work towards obtaining my LCSW.
9. Any advice for those coming after you?
For those coming after me, I would say intentionally seek out a community because to complete this program, you need to be surrounded by great people who champion and inspire you. I am a product of my community to which I am indebted. Additionally, I would say you get what you put into your classes and internships. I know, it might sound trite but I encourage future students to be intentional about everything they do including their attitude. Wishing you all an amazing transformative experience.
What others say about Mercy...
We would like to nominate Mercy Babo for MSW Clinical Practice Student Intern of the Year. Since the beginning of her internship, Mercy has consistently taken initiative in her learning, going out of her way to ask meaningful questions to all staff at the placement. For example, when one of our senior clinicians retired recently, Mercy reached out to meet with him for guidance and advice about his life-long career. Mercy demonstrates caring and teamwork daily, making an effort to make everyone on the team feel comfortable and supported. She works to make the team culture a positive, encouraging environment. Mercy has a contagious energy and comes in every morning with a smile on her face and ready to serve our clients. Other team members and staff regularly share with us her positive contribution to our milieu. Mercy demonstrates a genuine curiosity to understand our clients and their diverse backgrounds. She generously shares her empathy and compassion in sessions with clients. She has a grounding and calming presence in her clinical work, making clients feel heard and understood on a deeper level. Mercy has shown leadership during this year. For example, she volunteered to collect donations for her unit for the Annual Holiday Giving Back Project. She actively seeks opportunities to challenge herself, such as co-facilitating a new group, taking the lead on a session or assessment, and reaching out to fellow social workers for shadowing opportunities on their family work. We cannot think of a better student to receive this honor. Mercy has been an outstanding intern, and we know will continue to contribute greatly to the field of social work.