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Social Work Student Finds Purpose Serving Immigrants

Jonah Freed

Jonah Freed

As Jonah Freed takes the stage next week to receive his master’s degree, he may reflect on all the places that fostered his interest in mental health and helping immigrants—from Ghana to Peru to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Social Work.

Right before his senior year of college, Freed traveled to the small Ghanian village of Odumase Krobo to help teachers adapt an education program for their students. He spent the summer teaching English and math to 40 students.

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Freed joined the Peace Corps and served for two years as a community health promoter in Jumbilla, a small town in the Amazonas region of Peru. Upon his return to the United States, he worked in international development and as a case manager for a child trauma program. “As I gained more work experience,” said Freed, “social work started to feel like the perfect fit.

Freed learned about the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which offers academic financial assistance to returned Peace Corps volunteers. UT’s College of Social Work and College of Nursing are two of only three colleges or schools in Tennessee that partner with the program.

“The work many professors in the College of Social Work are doing to support immigrant communities, especially Hispanic and Latino communities within Tennessee—really aligned with my interests,” said Freed.

Jonah Freed graduates with a Master of Science in Social Work this spring. Read the full article on the UT News website to learn more about his graduate school journey and passion for helping immigrant families.