Class of 2011: Amy Kioko

Amy Kioko says a master's of social work is a versatile degree that opens many doors.

As the University counts down to Commencement, UConn Today is featuring some of this year’s outstanding graduating students, nominated by their academic school or college or another University program in which they participated. For additional profiles of students in the Class of 2011, click here.

<p>Amy Kioko. Photo by Jessica Tommaselli</p>
Amy Kioko, SSW (MSW) ’11. Photo by Jessica Tommaselli, CLAS ’11

Amy Kioko is enthusiastic about her time at the School of Social Work.

“UConn School of Social Work has offered me opportunities that I never would have had anywhere else,” she says, “incorporating a curriculum that has taught me so much more about what it means to be a human being with the power to make a difference.”

She will graduate from in May with a master’s degree in social work administration, with focused areas of study in international social work, and women and children in families.

“[Social work is] one of the best degrees you can get,” Kioko says. “You can do so many things with social work: case work, group work, community organizing, administration and political/policy social work, even international social work. It is a very versatile degree and can open many doors for you.”

Kioko, who was born in Kenya, says she has always been attracted to the field. “My family is very involved in the human service field. I’ve been engaged in it a long time. Naturally the next step was to get a master’s degree in social work.”

She has a bachelor’s degree in pre-law and human behavior from the United States International University in San Diego, Calif., and a paralegal certificate in litigation from UConn.

As an MSW student, Kioko says, she enjoyed interacting with the faculty. “I connected with a lot of the professors. They have been helpful, supportive, and inspiring. They really push you to open your mind and expand your thinking. I’ve learned so much, not only about issues in Connecticut and the United States, but also about the world and human rights overall.”

Kioko currently works in the mental health and addictions field, assisting young adults with significant trauma histories.

She has also worked with people with developmental disabilities, been a mentor for the Big Sister and Big Brother Program, and volunteered as a juvenile probation intern at a local juvenile court house.

“I like to work with people, and I don’t see myself stuck in an office all day,” she says.

She served on several committees, but particularly enjoyed being student co-chair of the UConn School of Social Work Disaster Response Committee. The committee does fund raising and runs programs to educate students about disasters on a global level.

“Just knowing we could get the school community involved was a great feeling,” she says. “I felt like I made a difference in the world, even if it was a small difference.”

And for the future?

“Ideally I’d like to start a small nonprofit in community development or international social work,” Kioko says. “There are people who have so much less than we do.”