ROCHELLE (CROFT) RHOADES ’08
When Rochelle (Croft) Rhoades graduated with a degree in social work in 2008, she planned on pursing a traditional social work career working with children. Four years later, she is still pursuing a social work career, and a master’s degree from the Ohio State University, but in a very non-traditional setting: the U.S. Navy.
Rhoades entered The University of Findlay as a freshman education major. She quickly realized that it wasn’t quite the right choice, and after some guidance from faculty members in the College of Education, decided to major in social work. It was a field in which she felt like she could thrive, and she could work with children, which was her original goal.
Robin Walters-Powell, assistant professor and chair of the social work program, and Tony Wilgus, associate professor and coordinator of field instruction for social work, helped Rhoades succeed in the program. “Tony and Robin made sure that we were ready for graduation. They pushed me to do better,” said Rhoades.
Walters-Powell helped Rhoades to “see her options” and helped her find internships that matched her interests, such as the Open Arms internship. Walters-Powell also welcomed Rhoades back to campus for an administration internship as part of Rhoades’ master’s degree program.
During her senior year, Rhoades completed an internship at Open Arms Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services. She continued working there following graduation, and although she was doing good work, “it was an emotional field.” Rhoades knew she needed to find a different path but wanted to continue in the social work field.
As she was considering her options, Rhoades met a friend who had served in the Navy. Her interest was piqued, and she talked with a military recruiter. Because of Rhoades’ completed bachelor’s degree and her good GPA, she is entering the Navy with the highest rank possible for a new recruit. After she completes boot camp in September, Rhoades will work as a social worker wherever she is stationed or deployed, and she will complete her master’s degree from OSU online.
Once stationed, Rhoades may work in a veteran center or on-base childcare center doing counseling for families. If deployed, she may work as a ship’s social worker, offering counseling services to service men and women who are away from their families. Rhoades hopes to be stationed in either Florida or Virginia.
Rhoades advises other students to “be committed to any big leap … You have to be 100-percent committed.”