Immediately after graduation I joined the U.S. Air Force as a medic. My training has enabled me to gain valuable all-around life experience and skills. I have worked in a level 1 trauma center, inpatient mental health, and the emergency room. My training will soon begin as a flight medic with an Aeromedical Evacuation Unit, transporting wounded personnel around the world.
Since graduating from the social work program at Trinity, I obtained my MSW from the Jane Addams College of Social Work. It was a great program, small like Trinity with very helpful professors. Since then I have been working as a case manager in foster care and adoption at Children’s Home & Aid. I feel absolutely prepared to go into whatever line of work I choose as a social worker.
Two months after finishing my internship in the Semester in Ecuador program and graduating from Trinity with a BSW degree, I decided to move to South Korea. I am an elementary (1st-6th grade) English teacher for a program called TaLK . It is a Korean government scholarship program designed to support public English education in the rural areas of Korea, where the access to higher quality educational resources are limited.
After I graduated from Trinity in 2007, I started working at Elim Christian Services, an organization that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. I’ve been at Elim for almost 6 years and serve as the International Outreach Coordinator for Elim’s International Outreach program.
As the coordinator, I am developing a global learning network of people who are serving people with disabilities internationally. My social work education and experience always challenge me to continue learning and to seek a position of humility as I work with diverse populations.
Spring 2010 TRINITY Magazine, Career and Calling
Laura Zumdahl ’02
Major: Social work
Title: Associate executive director
“Today I work at a faith-inspired organization that exists to ‘answer God’s call to seek justice and mercy,’” said Laura Zumdahl ’02, associate executive director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA). CGLA provides free legal services to over 5,000 low income residents of Chicago each year.
Following her graduation from Trinity, Zumdahl went on to graduate school for a master of arts in social work and will receive her Ph.D. this spring. “My experience at Trinity shaped my vocation and life,” she said. “It provided a firm foundation of knowledge in my areas of study in sociology and business and prepared me for graduate school and work both as a social worker and administrator.”
Part of that Trinity experience involved working as the College’s project coordinator in the social work department from 2005-07. Her connections with Trinity have remained strong. She and fellow alumni and former co-worker Dr. Mackenzi Huyser ’98, professor and chair of Trinity’s social work department, have been collaborating on a project that will give Huyser’s students experiential learning. At the same time, the project will provide Zumdahl with valuable information she can use to better serve CGLA clients.
Zumdahl is responsible for overseeing development, operations, finance, and the volunteer and client support services programs at CGLA. In recognition of her work, she was named a Chicago Community Trust Emerging Leader Fellow for 2010 and received nearly $30,000 to fund her professional development plan studying innovation and design thinking in nonprofit organizations.
“My time at Trinity provided a comprehensive education but also challenged me to integrate my faith into my vocation,” said Zumdahl. “It was through that experience that I found how much I loved the profession of social work and working in nonprofit organizations. That discovery shaped my calling and career.”