I love being a Buckeye. From the first time I toured campus as an undergraduate, I felt a special spirit and sense of community at Ohio State.
I chose to study political science as an undergraduate because I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I interned with the Ohio Attorney General’s office and worked full time at the Moritz College of Law for a year after graduation.
That year gave me the chance to really think about my future and I realized practicing law wasn’t my purpose. I’ve always had a passion for helping people who are underrepresented because of religion, sexuality or race. That’s just who I am. The assistant dean at the law school, who became a friend and mentor, suggested the master’s in social work program. I looked into it and decided to apply for a scholarship.
Receiving the scholarship gave me the chance to reappraise my dreams for the future. The additional years of study allowed me to do work that was purposeful.
The scholarship also motivated me to stay focused and finish. It’s a lot easier to pursue your dream when you have someone cheering you on.
The really special thing about Ohio State’s social work master’s program is its flexibility. I chose to follow the “macro” track that focuses on societal systems and policies. During graduate school, I interned with State Representative Brigid Kelly. She helped me understand how public office gives you the ability to make systemic changes through the legislative process.
My mentor at Moritz helped me find my current role with the consulting firm Korn Ferry where I am learning about social impact in the private sector. Eventually, I hope to return to Ohio and address social justice issues by holding public office.
The scholarship I received to attend graduate school, and the wonderful mentors who helped me throughout my education, reinforced the most valuable lesson I learned at Ohio State: the value of community and the importance of creating and sustaining sincere, authentic relationships.
Demondre Peak, MSW ’21, College of Social Work