DiscoverWork Reflections

As a freshman at Hope, I knew I was going to pursue social work because of my passion for meeting individuals where they are and walking alongside them through their unique life circumstances. Being given the opportunity, as a freshman, to participate in the DiscoverWork Program was a blessing that added so many unforgettable memories to my Hope experience.

My very first DiscoverWork opportunity, I was able to travel to Atlanta, Georgia where I shadowed Lindsay Allward-Theimer ’11 at Junior Achievement of Georgia. Shadowing Lindsay at JA Georgia showed me what educational social work looks like. Being able to connect with the youth that benefited from their programming and seeing the relationships built between students and staff was inspiring. I spent four days with Lindsay so outside of shadowing her at work I got to know her dog, her husband, and her city. Lindsay took me downtown Atlanta, got me to try new foods (which is very rare because I am so picky!) and shared so much wisdom pertaining to my life at Hope and beyond. Lindsay has supported me throughout all four years at Hope. Lindsay traveled to Holland twice a year while I was a student and made it a priority to see me, catch up and treat me to a meal. My relationship with Lindsay has gone far beyond my DiscoverWork opportunity and into every year at Hope and now into post-grad. 

My second DiscoverWork opportunity, I was able to travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to shadow Tawny Brooks ’00 of Brooks Law LLC for three days. Tawny is an attorney who specializes in children’s law which includes: delinquency, termination of parental rights, guardian ad litem and so much more. I was so thrilled to see how social workers operated in the courtroom on behalf of youth and families. I was inspired by Tawny’s passion for advocating for children/youth and her dedication to each individual case but also to growing her business. Shadowing Tawny assured me that I do want to pursue macro social work to continue making large-scale change and improving some of the heart-wrenching systemic issues that affect so many people. 

Last, but not least, I had my final DiscoverWork opportunity at Hope College where I traveled to Washington, D.C. to shadow Robert Bradford ’02 at Sheridan School. Rob is the Middle School Head at Sheridan, so for the first time ever I got to see how an independent school operates. My passion for youth and social justice sort of exploded at Sheridan. I was like a sponge soaking up every ounce of information I could but also asking the tough questions that came to mind. Rob, Sharon and their two children were a joy to stay with for the week. This opportunity showed me where I could fit in at an independent school as a social worker as well as the intricacies of operating a school as the Head. 

All of my DiscoverWork opportunities allowed me to shadow different aspects of social work, youth, social justice and education… all of my passions! I was able to get to know each individual more deeply, understand their path to their current role and take in the wisdom they had to pass along. I got to learn things that I like and will pursue in the future but also things that I do not like and will avoid in the future… all while exploring new cities, new foods and growing my network! DiscoverWork was a blessing to my Hope experience and all of the hosts that welcomed me are individuals who continue to cheer me on as I chase my dreams outside of Hope College. 


  1. Create a Hope College Connection account
  2. Click “DiscoverWork” on the blue navigation bar and follow the registration prompts

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? Please reach out to Amanda Root at

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