Social Work Month Student Spotlight: Jazmeen Ryals-Sumter

Jazmeen Ryals-Sumter_student spotlight 2024

Each Friday, Johnson C. Smith University will share a Q&A with a student in the University's master's or undergraduate Social Work program in honor of Social Work Month.

Jazmeen Ryals-Sumter
Jazmeen Ryals-Sumter '25M

Today's feature is Jazmeen Ryals-Sumter '25M, a Jersey City, N.J. native in her first year in the JCSU Master of Social Work program.

1. Why did you choose to study social work? 
I have been doing social work for about 6 years, and it is a calling. I thought it would be great to “master” the subject and gain more knowledge. Social Work is in everything we do – I am passionate about making change and helping individuals feel seen. 

2. What do you like about being a Social Work major at JCSU? 
JCSU has truly felt like family since I came on campus. Every professor is passionate about their expertise and willing to give their wisdom to help my advancement. 

3. What would you like to do when you graduate from JCSU with your master's degree?  
I would love to go on and become licensed and open my own business to provide free counseling for teenagers in low-income communities. 

4. What is something unique that has happened to you while you have been a Social Work student at JCSU?  
I have created amazing relationships with my cohorts and I never had that feeling. Being from Jersey, HBCUs are nonexistent and I was a commuter student during undergrad, so building positive relationships with cohorts has been my favorite part of this experience. Also – experiencing JCSU’s Sustainability Village has been very unique.  

5. How do you feel that JCSU’s Social Work program has prepared (or is preparing you for) life after college? 
I believe nothing can prepare you for the Social Work field – you just have to put yourself out there. However, I do feel our grad professors are giving us tools to navigate the field after graduation. 

"It is transforming – cultural competence class still resides with me and it’s important to have as populations are so huge," she said. "If you allow yourself to be transformed during this program as well as make great connections with your professors – I feel you can be more than successful after graduation."


The March is Social Work Month theme for 2024 is "Empowering Social Workers." To learn more about Social Work Month, visit

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