Maria Cimini, MSW 2005

When I worked as assistant director of South Providence Neighborhood Ministries. I met a social work intern who opened my eyes to a field of study I never would have considered. I had always thought of social work as clinically focused, but when I learned of the possibility of a concentration in policy and organizing I knew I had found a new home. The graduate program at the School of Social Work was fantastic. The professors encouraged me to build on my personal experience in policy and organizing while providing me with academic background and organizational theory.

Working full time while attending graduate school part time was definitely a challenge but I found the professors and my classmates to be a great system of support throughout my studies. I still meet monthly with friends from grad school and we are as much social support as professional support for one another. I am also very fortunate to have found great mentors in the faculty at RIC whom I still turn to today for guidance.

Since 2004 I have coordinated the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) , a government assistance program which provides nutritional assistance to low-income households. Every day I utilize social work skills. I make policy recommendations and provide direct support and advocacy services for low-income clients. I also supervise social work interns and love giving students a real-world kind of experience so they see how their classroom learning relates to professional life.

On January of 2011, I became one of 22 new members of Rhode Island's House of Representatives and now sit on the House committees for Health, Education and Welfare and Environment & Natural Resources.