Elizabeth Shunk

My name is Elizabeth Shunk and I am a junior here at the University of Pittsburgh. I am from Johnstown Pennsylvania, a town about two hours outside of Pittsburgh. In my free time I enjoy painting, listening to music, and being with the people I love. Throughout my life I have experienced and witnessed inequalities due to race, income, gender, and so much more. In high school I also discovered my passion of helping people through volunteering with multiple clubs I was involved in. Seeing and experiencing these inequalities in combination with my passion for helping people led me to my career in Social Work. I am currently working towards my Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and plan to obtain my degree in fall of 2022. At Pitt I am also heavily involved in the Student Support Services (SSS) program. SSS is a branch program under TRIO which aims to aid low-income or first-generation students have a successful college career. This will be my third year in the program and my second year as both a peer mentor and a teaching assistant. In my role as a peer mentor, I aim to create a safe space for students to share concerns, get academic help, and meet new people. I am also involved in another TRIO program, Upward Bound. Upward Bound is basically SSS but at a high school level, as it focuses on preparing students to go to college. I am an Upward Bound alumn and am currently working as a tutor/counselor for the program. As a tutor/counselor I help students with their academics, counsel them through personal problems, and foster a safe environment where students can make friends and learn. These two TRIO programs have given me a passion for educational equity; without these programs I would not be the successful student I am today. Once I have earned my bachelor’s degree, I plan on working in the field to find my true passion so I can then earn my master’s degree and focus on a specialization. I plan on finding a career in counseling, therapy, adoptions, or working with foster youth. I am excited to see where my journey at Pitt takes me and how I can make a difference with this program.