Social Work
Ashley Evans portrait
Social Work


Since I was a freshman in high school, I’ve wanted to be a social worker. I’ve always had this push to help others, even before my first-hand experience with social workers. Now, after nearly 10 years of pushing myself toward my goals, I am one step closer to becoming a social worker thanks to the scholarships generously provided by the Missouri Western State University Foundation and funded by donors like you.

When I graduated from high school in 2014, I chose to enroll at Missouri Western to obtain my degree in Social Work. Unfortunately, life presented its challenges, and I had to step away twice after the birth of each of my sons, Kayden and Grayson. Each was born with health issues that required a stay at the NICU – one at KU Medical Center and the other at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

When Kayden was born, he had to stay in the NICU for a month and a half. Thankfully, we were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House the entire length of his stay. Unfortunately, my need to focus on my family limited my ability to continue pursuing my education.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I decided to return to Missouri Western. Shortly after returning to school, I became pregnant with my second son, Grayson. I had to have an emergency C-section and two blood transfusions. Grayson was born not breathing, but he was quickly revived and transported to Children’s Mercy. Once there, he received cooling therapy to reverse any potential brain damage, and proceeded to stay in the NICU for an additional three weeks.

Throughout both of our stays in the NICU, we were extremely lucky to have amazing social workers that assisted us through the difficult experiences and offered us helpful resources. Receiving the support that these social workers gave us through those difficult times further solidified my goals of becoming a social worker myself, with the ultimate goal of serving in a hospital like KU Medical Center or Children’s Mercy, so I can support other families the way we were supported.

Missouri Western has always been my first choice for my education, from right out of high school all the way up to my final decision to return in the fall of 2020. At the time, I was working 40 hours a week at the St. Joseph Police Department as a records clerk while attending class in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In May 2022, I was able to start working for the YWCA as the Law Enforcement Victim Advocate. Each of these steps has led me closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a social worker.

I have had nothing but positive experiences at Missouri Western, and I would not be as close to reaching my goals as I am without the personal help and support I have received from faculty and staff at the University. To me, Missouri Western means acceptance. Missouri Western means that even though I am a non-traditional student, I can have the same experiences and same support as students straight out of high school.

I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to receive that support without the assistance of scholarships funded by generous donors like you. As graduation quickly approaches, I am grateful to say that one thing I won’t have to worry as much about is the financial burden of going to school. These scholarships have had a huge impact on my life, and will continue to have an impact on the lives of students who come after me.