Student Spotlight: Caroline Spikner

Caroline Spikner headshot

Class Year: Spring 2024

Degree Program: MSW

Concentration: Community Practice for Social Change

Hometown: Benton Harbor, MI

Undergrad Alma Mater: Northwestern University

Why did you choose Case Western Reserve?

The dual degree program is what really attracted me. The social work school felt very welcoming and “home-y” when I visited.

What has surprised you most about life in Cleveland?

Everyone is really friendly. It’s bigger than I expected, coming from Chicago. There are lots of things to do, but it may be harder to find. We tried to go to a lot of festivals in the first couple weeks we were here, the Shaker Lakes festival, the Waterloo Arts Fest, etc. I tried a ballet class—it was the first thing I looked for when I got here. It’s a place you have to look at the posters in the window, but it’s worth it!

What’s your favorite thing about the program?

My cohort. All of our classes for the first semester are with the same group of people. It’s nice to get to know people very deeply very quickly.

What has surprised you most—in a good way—about CWRU?

It’s beautiful! I did not expect it to be so pretty. There is a lot of green space and there are so many trees here!

What are your career goals?

When I got here, I was planning on going into diversity, equity and inclusion work, but my classes are quickly making the argument to go into more direct social work. So who knows? All the professors are really into what they are teaching. I’m studying Community Practice for Social Change and we had a picnic before classes with all of the professors and what they are working on in the community. All of their macro-level projects are so inspiring—they really are changing the world!

How would you describe your professors?

They are really kind. It’s very obvious that they care about our success and want us to take on this really important work fully prepared.

Are you involved with any clubs or activities outside of the classroom?

Not yet on campus. I’m a yoga teacher and I hope to find somewhere to practice and teach yoga. I am also a Leadership Fellow.

What do you love most about CWRU?

So far all I know is that it’s really beautiful and my department really cares about the success of its students.