Ember Keller | COEHS | SIU

Southern Illinois University

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Ember Keller

School of Social Work

Ember Keller

Hometown:  Elmhurst, IL.
Year: First year Doctoral (Reading and Language)
Research Interests: Bilingual education

Q: Tell us a little about your program and what level are you?


A: I’m in the master’s program in the School of Social Work. My emphasis is in Child and Family Welfare. The program is great and can open a lot of doors for anybody involved in it. When I graduate, my goal is to work in Child Advocacy.

Q:  What was your journey to SIU and the School of Social Work?

A: When I was in middle school, a friend of mine needed help but was never given any. I thought for a long time about becoming a social worker because of my friend, but after some time moved away from that idea and decided to earn my associates degree in business at Olney Central College. My second year there I found myself leaning back towards social work and decided to change my major back to that discipline. I felt that something kept drawing me back towards the field, and it wasn’t something that I could simply ignore any longer. I looked at all of the universities in the state when deciding on which school to attend after I received my associate’s degree at Olney C.C. and chose SIUC, as it is by far the best program in the state. I came to SIUC to earn my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

Q: What do you like most about the Social Work Department?

A: I really appreciate the professors, as they are always there for you and willing to help in any way they possibly can. Overall, the Social Work department has a very caring group of students, staff and faculty.

Q:  What do you like most about SIU?

A: The opportunities it has given me. When I arrived here it was the first time I had been on my own outside of my tiny hometown, and I’ve had many great first-time experiences here. Also, SIU made it possible for me to become the recipient of one of the master’s fellowships that allowed me to go to graduate school with far less stress than would have been possible without the fellowship. The fellowship is very competitive, and the Social Work office was very proud to receive two of only fifteen fellowships that are offered campus wide. It was also SIU that gave me the opportunity to become the current Social Work Student Alliance, Graduate Chapter president, an honor that I am very proud about.

Q: What do you like most about Carbondale?

A: I worked at Arnold’s Market while I was an undergraduate, and when the students left for vacations, the majority of the people left in
town were the full-time Carbondale residents.  I absolutely love the full-time residents. They’re just really good people; they are a “give the shirt off their back” kind of people. One time, my car battery died while I was at work. I went back into the store to tell one of my coworkers about my problem and within five minutes, four different customers who were in the store (none of whom I had met before that day) had overheard me explaining my problem to my coworker and had come up to me and offered to let me borrow their jumper cables.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: When I have spare time, I love to read and play video games. I also love to go hiking in Giant City State Park.

Q: What are a couple of your fondest memories at SIU?

A: When I was an undergrad, a few friends of mine and I had a tradition of meeting at my apartment on a week night and cooking dinner and either playing cards or watching movies. There was also a time when, for the last meeting of a particular class, all of us students arrived at the classroom very early.  We spent the 40 minutes before the professor arrived playing Heads-Up-Seven-Up in the dark and the Count to 13 game. I had such a good time, and it is such a great memory.