Graduate Life

Through the online MSW@USC, the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is preparing social workers who are making a difference in communities around the world.

Meet Our Students


Jabari Evans, MSW@USC ’14

The son of a clinical social worker and a psychologist, Jabari Evans always felt destined to work in social services. He watched other African-American youths in his hometown of Chicago as they struggled to find their place in the world, and Jabari was inspired to affect the self-esteem of young men growing up in inner cities.

It was this inspiration that led Jabari to pursue his Master of Social Work. Jabari felt a strong need to serve his community, but he did not want to leave Chicago; he wanted to earn his degree while working with the youth he saw every day. The online MSW program from USC gave him that opportunity.

In 2013, Jabari founded The Brainiac Project, a program that promotes recording arts careers to African American at-risk youth, teaching them life skills, self-efficacy and entrepreneurship through recording arts. In 2015, Jabari was selected as one of Chicago Scholars’ 35 under 35 Young Leaders Making an Impact.

I feel if it weren’t for the MSW@USC program, I would not have been inspired and confident enough to go after it and participate in as much community work with youth in Chicago as I have been able to do. The education USC provided to me has been the catalyst for this.

Elizabeth Steffel, MSW@USC ’15

A survivor of child abuse and homelessness as a teenager, Elizabeth Steffel knew she was meant for a career in social work so that she could help others struggling to grow up in the foster care system.

Elizabeth liked the idea of a respected online degree that would allow her to continue her advocacy work in her hometown, so she chose to earn her Master of Social Work through the MSW@USC program. She’s already finding success. Motivated by her own life experience, Elizabeth wrote a grant proposal in partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay to create a program that increases college retention rates for former foster care children.

Today, Elizabeth is a contributor to Foster Focus magazine and the National Association of Social Workers, and she appears at events to advocate for children who are homeless or in foster care, making her a frequent interviewee in the local media. Her ultimate goal is to earn her PhD and become a leader in the field.


Tara Moore, MSW@USC ’14

Tara Moore’s career began in information technology. While she was successful, she felt she could be doing more meaningful work. She started volunteering at a local nonprofit, working with teen mothers to ensure their access to services and resources throughout their pregnancies and after the births of their children. Tara was inspired by the experience.

Lives were literally transformed in these two-hour meetings with the teen mothers. An internal yearning to offer myself to community service was unexpectedly kindled, and my life had a new purpose. I was then led to pursue a life of service and applied for the USC MSW program.

Tara is now helping kids through her work at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, loving her new career in social work.