Maddie Abramson’s journey to find her RightFit in social work at UIndy and elsewhere

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An intern for RightFit, a member of the Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement (CSLCE), contributor of an upcoming book, Social Worker Organization President and senior social work major Maddie Abramson is an active contributor to all of these organizations. She does this on top of taking 18 credit hours at the University of Indianapolis. 

RightFit is a coalition of students, parents, educators, sponsors, public safety personnel and committed volunteers who choose to work together to enhance a safer and healthier community, according to the RightFit mission statement found on their website. They do this by supporting an after-school program that encourages academic growth, fun physical activity and  a nutritious meal, which is all provided in an environment of courtesy and respect, according to their website. Abramson works at Central Catholic and St. Philip Neri elementary schools as an observer to see what components within the programs can be improved or be done more efficiently.

“RightFit was the right fit for me,” Abramson said. “I needed a spring term component to go along with [my concentration], so I reached out to Marianna Foulkrod, the department head [of the CSLCE], and she told me that we could try an independent study, and you can do a practicum …  it’s been an amazing opportunity to have that chance to work with all these different people that work towards my major and my concentration.” 

Director for the CSLCE Marianna Foulkrod recommended her to RightFit and was able to get her connected with the founder, according to Abramson. She said she was able to become an intern there thanks to her connections.

“Being put into RightFit, it was just a crazy experience,” Abramson said. “I don’t think I would ever change how it happened.”

Abramson is also a part of the CSLCE at UIndy. According to their website, the CSLCE supports and promotes social responsibility through programs and initiatives as well as a way to connect students and faculty. 

“It’s just such amazing opportunities of what this department can bring you,” Abramson said. “Because you always hear Marianna [Foulkrod] being like ‘Oh, so and so here’s this so and so, I want to help you guys connect, let’s get you guys going’ … it’s just really amazing to see how much can grow from this department.”

Abramson is contributing to the writing of an upcoming book for the Social Work Department 25th Anniversary which is set to be released in the spring. Abramson’s chapter will be about her experience with social work through her practicum and independent study. The chapter will be a case study on her experience and how all of her involvements work together and coexist, she said.

“I’m writing [the book] with Marianna [Foulkrod],” Abramson said. “We’re doing chapter three together. And we’ve had lots of meetings with the founder of the social work department, [Phylis Lan Lin], to discuss how we’re going to go about that and how our chapter’s looking so far.”

Abramson, the previous vice president, became president of the Social Worker Association shortly after her predecessor stepped down. She was encouraged to become the president by Assistant Professor at the Phylis Lan Lin Department of Social Work Francine Carter, who recognized her abilities and potential. 

“She was always willing to answer questions, was great at receiving feedback and stepped up to the plate when needed,” Carter said. “Any questions that she had about assignments, she wasn’t afraid to ask, which is what we want in a student. As far as her future, she can do anything she wants. She just has that ability.”

Once she took over the Social Worker Association, Abramson said she started to notice that the organization could be doing more to be more interactive with the UIndy community. She began to create programs to get freshmen to want to be a part of the association, she said.

“We’ve done a lot of suicide awareness through the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Foundation,” Abramson said. “ … We also do an ‘Out of the Darkness’ walk in the spring where we just have people come in and we spread awareness about suicide and mental health in general.”

According to Abramson, she is an active participant in three different organizations on top of taking 18 credit hours at UIndy. It has not always been easy for her, she said. 

“I had three weeks where I just felt really burned out,” Abramson said. “I took a week off and then we had fall break. Then my internship had fall break. I was feeling like I was just at a mental block. But I’ve been delegating better. And I’ve learned to let my board grow and show their commitment to our board a little more …  I’m still working on my mental health and trying to stay positive, because I know I’m doing all these great things. But sometimes I get so lost because I want each thing to be perfect, that I criticize myself too much. I just have to remember that it’s okay.”

Abramson will graduate in May of 2022. She said she wants to move to Arizona eventually, but will stay in Indianapolis for a couple of years and may attend graduate school or get more experience at other nonprofits.

Carter, who first met Abramson in her Social Work 110 class, said that she hopes Abramson will follow her heart. She admires Abramson for everything she has overcome and knows that their relationship will continue after graduation, Carter said. 

“I know she’ll be doing great things,” Carter said. “There’s no doubt. There’s just no doubt.”

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