UGA alumna Shelly Hutchinson (MSW ’00) is on a mission to ensure that families in crisis across the state of Georgia are provided the best social services and programs. As the founder and director of the Social Empowerment Center, her goal is to provide quality support to the most at-risk individuals while advocating for fair and effective policies and programs across her home state. In addition, Shelly is expanding the influence of her cause by supporting future social workers and leaders in her field with a generous commitment to the School of Social Work.
Entering the School of Social Work in 1997 as a part-time student on UGA Gwinnett’s campus, Shelly quickly formed close bonds with her peers and professors—relationships that remain strong today. Now, she feels those networks have helped the Social Empowerment Center thrive. On top of forming close connections with others working in her field, Shelly values the hands-on nature of the School of Social Work’s program. Through eye-opening field trips, like one to a prison in Brunswick, Georgia, she was exposed to things she’d never seen before.