Social Work graduate now ready to give back to the community she loves
Three weeks – that’s all Aly Sanders needed to become a Sabre.
Set to begin classes at UW-Milwaukee in less than a month, something just didn’t feel right. Starting to think maybe it would be better to go somewhere similar to her small hometown of Little Chute, Wis., she couldn’t shake the positive things that family and friends had told her about their time at Marian University.
“As soon as I got to campus I knew it was the school for me,” she said. “It was the perfect size, had the community feel that I needed, and the reassurance from everyone at Marian that it wasn’t too late to switch and that they’d be there for me every step of the process was overwhelming.”
The decision certainly paid off for the 2018 graduate, who earned her MS in Social Work from Concordia a year later and now serves as the Mental Health Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Fond du Lac, as well as being the Homeless Advocate at Fond du Lac High School.
“If it wasn’t for Marian I’m not sure I would have discovered my passion,” Sanders said. “Before I went to Marian, I hated going to class. But then I got to Marian, and I wanted to go to class.”
To get where she is today, Aly actually began her time as a Sabre as an undecided major. Unable to decide between Social Work and Special Education, she worked with Director of Academic Advising Sue Fuerbringer to create a freshman course schedule that would allow her to still graduate in four years while gaining exposure to each area of study.
“It really helped me realize that I wanted to work in the setting that would expose me to the most people,” Aly said. “I discovered that I wanted to be out in the community, not in a single classroom, and appreciated having the chance to learn that while knowing it wouldn’t delay my graduation.”
And just before graduation, as a junior, she was hired by the Boys and Girls Club of Fond du Lac, leading to four years of employment and the position she now holds – earned through her knowledge, experience, and background in social work – where she connects individuals to counseling and community resources, while also teaching them about social emotional learning, the importance of healthy relationships, and other coping mechanisms.
“Social work is a hard profession to prepare for because you never know exactly what you’re going to face, but Marian was amazing at giving me real life experience,” she said. “The professors were all still in the field, so they were able to give it to us straight, share real life examples, and that really helped me feel like I was as ready as I could be.”
And as she continues to help out those around her, she continues to believe Fond du Lac – a place she was three weeks from never visiting – is where she belongs.
“I love where I’m at,” she said. “I love being a part of this community, and I can’t imagine where I’d be without all the friends and memories I’ve made here.”