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UC’s Hooding Ceremony Is All in the Family for this Graduate

Annie Dick will be awarded her master’s hood from her father as she continues a family tradition of UC graduates, UC employees and social workers.

Date: 5/25/2009
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Annie Dick traveled many pathways to find her career niche, a journey that will culminate with her master’s degree hooding at the University of Cincinnati Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition Ceremony at 10 a.m., June 12, in Fifth Third Arena in Shoemaker Center. She’ll receive her master’s hood in social work from her father, Gary Dick, a UC professor of social work. In fact, Annie’s winding pathway in education led her to follow in the footsteps of both of her parents.
Left to right: Kathy Dick, Annie Dick and Gary Dick

“When I hear, ‘We’re All UC,’ well, our family really is,” she says.

Born in 1983, Annie was just learning to walk when her father joined the social work faculty at UC in 1984, recalls her proud father. Gary Dick earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1977 from UC before earning a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1980, and a PhD in social work from The Ohio State University in 2000. Since the couple did not use babysitters, Gary says he took Annie with him to his job.“She grew up in social work,” he says.

Annie’s mother, Kathy Dick, earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from UC in 1974 and earned a master’s in social work from the University of Chicago in 1979. Annie’s parents first met in a Cincinnati supermarket where Kathy was working part-time while attending UC as an undergrad. She is now director of UC’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE), which connects the university to the community through service. The Corporation for National and Community Service recently named UC to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

Annie recalls that when she first entered UC in 2001, the campus was under construction as it was in the midst of its massive transformation into the dynamic campus that it is today. Growing up in Madisonville and becoming part of the first graduating class of 20 or so students from Clark Montessori School, the undecided major at the time felt overwhelmed on a large campus lined with construction fences.

Annie Dick

Pursuing her creative interests, she says she took off for the College of Santa Fe to study costume design. “I was inspired in Santa Fe by the art and the culture, but I was slowly realizing that I wanted to do something more meaningful,” she says. “So, I decided to come back to the University of Cincinnati, went on a study abroad trip to Paris to fulfill a language credit, and through all of those experiences, I discovered that what I wanted to do was to work with people.

“Coming back as an undergrad, I discovered that you can find your own place on campus. I found mine in the sociology department and later in the School of Social Work.” She completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC in 2006.

After a brief move to Chicago upon graduation, Annie says she returned to Cincinnati and “fell in love with the work” of providing home visits as a behavioral therapist. But, she realized that a graduate degree would expand her career opportunities, which led her to the UC School of Social Work to pursue her master’s degree. As a graduate student, she assisted her father on numerous research projects.

“We work very well together,” says her proud dad. “Annie has worked with me on just about every research study I’ve done.”

The two expect to be working together in the future as well. While earning her master’s degree, Annie worked as a graduate assistant in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services’ (CECH) Partner for Achieving School Success (PASS) program, which pursues university-community partnerships and programs to promote and support academic success. She was recently hired full-time by PASS as a mentor program coordinator for a new education success partnership involving PASS, the UC School of Social Work, Hamilton County Job and Family Services, the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and Great Oaks Career Campuses. The partnership, called Higher Education Mentor Initiative (HEMI), is piloting a program aimed at curbing the high school dropout rate of foster children. The education-focused program will match high school seniors who are foster children with mentors, in efforts to keep young people aging out of the foster care system on track to successful futures.

Education for opportunity and opportunity for education – Gary Dick says that’s what UC is all about, as he remembers hitchhiking to campus as a 19-year-old because he couldn’t afford transportation for the commute. “You better believe I’ve seen the opportunity here to grow and to be educated.”

Kathy says the family is very proud of their daughter. “She has been a precious child from the beginning. I’m so excited for her and her wonderful job here at UC.”

Meanwhile, there’s another UC family graduation still ahead. Annie’s brother, Jonathan, is a student at Raymond Walters College. Like Annie as she first entered college, she says Jonathan is “still figuring out what he would like to do.”

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