Faced with the many challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, students in the Class of 2021 have demonstrated tenacity in their studies, research, and on- and off-campus activities. The Daily highlighted the accomplishments of eight of CWRU's many outstanding graduates—read more about the Mandel School's featured student, Ivan Conard, below.
Ivan Conard has a personal philosophy: How do I empower communities while dismantling historical and systemic barriers?
During the two years between earning his undergraduate degree in psychology at Morehouse College and enrolling at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Conard determined he wanted to expand his role in the community and support positive organizational change.
So, he built relationships with a variety of decision makers and explored different career paths—at Quicken Loans, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Ohio Democratic Party, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Beech Brook and United Way. But Conard soon realized that many of these nonprofit organizations are in place just to hold systems together, and that he held little power to change this. Through numerous conversations, he was introduced to the Mandel School and quickly developed an interest in social work and community practice for social change.
Conard became heavily involved at CWRU, most notably as a Trauma Center Research Scholar, where he was part of the research team that contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic mental health study and the Cleveland Neighborhood Resource trauma-informed care evaluation.
Looking to find ways to better advocate and empower individuals, Conard interned at the School of Law’s Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center, and became president of the Black Student Association’s Mandel School chapter, a First-Year Assistant Residential Community Director and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Ohio Chapter’s MSW Student Representative. In 2019, he was named a Northeast Ohio Top 25 Under 35 Mover and Shaker.
These experiences, along with always observing his personal philosophy, won him the NASW Ohio Chapter’s 2020 Student of the Year.
“Winning this award is humbling,” he said at the virtual celebration. “I’m appreciative, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family, friends and mentors.”
What’s next for Conard? Above all, he wants to make sure that his journey post-graduation is intentional. He plans to practice as a licensed social worker leading trauma-informed nonprofit organizations to make high-impact change for youth, families, communities and the nation.
“Everything’s a learning experience,” he said. “I look forward to revisiting how my education in social work impacts my practice.”
Read The Daily article from May 14, 2021.