Doris Harrington


Golden Women Main Scholarship Winner

Pursuing Masters Degree in Social Work

University of Southern California

Why continuing an education is so important to her:

My story begins when I was thirteen years old and my older brother Erik unexpectedly passed away in a skateboarding accident. Shortly after, my family and I were surprised to learn that my eldest brother, Noe, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. According to Gail Caldwell, a well-known writer in the field of grief and healing, “We never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.” Through grief, as Ms. Caldwell explained, I was taught compassion, which helped mold me into an advocate for organ donation and mental illness. Furthermore, grief allowed me to reflect on my life and my personal values. It became clear that it was important to pursue a career in which I could be of service to others, and continue to honor my personal values. After learning of the National Association of Social Workers’ code of ethics, and it’s core values of public service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence, I dedicated my time towards developing skills that would best help me excel as a professional social worker.

It is my aspiration to become a macro social worker that advocates and formulates policies, programs, and initiatives that strives for social inclusion and justice. To accomplish my goal of becoming a macro social worker, I have been taking courses at Cal State LA to earn my bachelors in social work, with a minor in public administration. Together, these academic disciplines have helped equip me with understanding of the human condition and the skills necessary to analyze, manage, and deliver public programs and services for the greater good of the community.

This fall, I will begin my Masters at USC in the study track, Organization, and Business Innovation (COBI). I specifically chose this program because I believe it will help me reach my professional goals because the workplace of social work is changing and this program accommodates to that by teaching its students to expand their horizons and apply different approaches to utilize their social work degree. This further prepares students for careers in which one can be the leader of change in their field.

One of my professional role models is Barbara Mikulski, a social worker who held the position of Senator of Maryland for thirty years, the longest serving woman Senator in U.S. history. By running for office, Mikulski put social work values into action by ensuring her constituents were being well represented. A few of Mikulski accomplishments include, writing a law to require federal standards for mammograms, fighting for uninsured women to get screening and treatment for breast and cervical cancer and writing the Spousal Anti-Impoverishment Act to keep seniors from going bankrupt while paying for a spouse’s nursing home care. In order to be a trailblazer in social work such as Mikulski, I recognize the importance of expanding my knowledge and becoming a master in the field. I plan to be a leader of change in social work by specializing with the study track, Social Work and Business, as it will allow me to further explore social innovation and social entrepreneurship practiced by social workers that intend to lead and facilitate social change that can have a lasting impact on communities and people.

Lastly, as a social worker I am committed to life-long learning. I understand that in order to assist my clients and community, I must be conscious and respondent to the personal, interpersonal, environmental, and systemic issues affecting individuals. An unknown author states, “Expand your knowledge by expanding your community.” This quote reaffirms me that the more open I am to learning; I not only expand my community, but also my knowledge as I learn more about different working groups and how to be of better service.

Doris proudly supports:

Outreach Officer for California State University, Los Angeles Association of Student Social Workers

Intern for the Office of Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez

Intern for INSAN for Humanity

Fundraiser Participant for Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Volunteer for Gloria Molina for City Council Campaign

Volunteer for Wilmington Walk with Mayor Eric Garcetti

Doris, what does the term “Golden Women” mean to you?

A woman who has a light and she knows how to use it.

Nobody can achieve success alone. A golden woman recognizes that a community of supporters is what drives success. She is willing and ready to be that support system for others to aid in their success. She listens and rises up for the underrepresented, for justice, for change, for actions from others and herself that promote peace and equality for all.

A golden woman understands that when she succeeds she has the power to help others succeed. She is a work in progress. Each and every day she strives to learn more and be more for herself and her community. She is not afraid to ask for help and work with others to achieve her goals. She believes in collaborating and sharing her dreams and passions, in hopes of awakening the hearts of others.

She is a woman who chooses to spread light and love through action.

Doris, describe something that is plaguing young women today and explain what can be done to turn it around? What can you do to help?

There are many issues facing young women today; however, one that has been plaguing women since the 1900s is that many men dominate the esteemed professional fields and are paid more for their work. Many women are taught to focus on their beauty and family and are not instilled the confidence to pursue STEM careers. When I volunteered for a nonprofit we would hold a summer camp for children in a low-income neighborhood and when we asked the children what they wanted to be, many were not “daring to dare”. We received answers such as store clerk, waiter, etc. I make this statement not to insult the work but rather, to demonstrate that these professions do not entail schooling or much training and therefore, students are not truly aware of the possibilities they can achieve. Many young women do not have professional role models to look up to and by passing policies where women get equal pay for equal work, reframing the traits we refer women, and educating women on prospective careers we can introduce more women into various fields including STEM.