Commencement Profile: Camille Morhun
As the culmination of years of hard work and dedicated study, commencement is a special time for any graduate. At Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work, it is a time to celebrate our most valuable resource – our people.
The Class of 2023 is made up of dedicated social workers who will make impacts on the profession at every level. And while we’re equally proud of all our graduates, few have made more of their Loyola experience than Camille Morhun.
“I still struggle with describing my ‘why’, but I think it goes back to the Jesuit principle of being called to something,” Morhun reflected. “I felt very called [to social work] and the more I learned about the macro, mezzo, and micro level distinctions, the more I felt liberated by the fact that I could bring my unique self and my own experiences and ideas to this field.”
On May 10 in Gentile Arena, Morhun will receive her MSW degree alongside all School of Social Work and Parkinson School of Public Health graduates from the Class of 2023.
Finding Strength in Mentorship
Morhun transferred to Loyola in January 2020 in the hopes of getting the most from her academic experience through partnerships and relationships with faculty. Though she made connections with many professors in the School of Social Work, it was in Dr. Maria Vidal’s class that she’d found a true mentor.
“She has such a wonderful, open heart and she really has such a joy and goodness about her that you can’t not want to be near her,” Morhun said. “She’s always believed in me and that goes a long way. I know that she’s always going to be there and I can always go to her as my point person.”
In Dr. Vidal’s class, Morhun once again felt an inner calling she couldn’t explain. It was enough for her to decide a concentration in Migration Studies was the route she wanted to explore on her social work journey.
“She is a highly esteemed student that has excelled in coursework, as well as research, practice, and service endeavors,” Dr. Vidal said. “Her desire to work for the well-being of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants is directly in line with social work values and the Jesuit concern with social justice and care for the vulnerable and marginalized.”
Morhun said Dr. Vidal has not only provided invaluable mentorship, but also opened a network of other social workers around the world who Morhun has been able to learn from. Her studies have taken her to the U.S.-Mexican border and Honduras, where Morhun has worked with communities in need.
“Through Dr. Vidal’s mentorship, I’ve learned that migration is something that is very close to my heart, and I’m still trying to figure out why,” she said. “One thing that Dr. Alejandro Olayo-Mendez from Boston College advised me in Honduras is that you don’t need to know exactly why, you just need to know it lights up your heart and follow that.”
But Morhun has also made an impact closer to home. In the wake of the July 4th, 2022 parade shooting in Highland Park, Morhun and two other bilingual students from the School of Social Work volunteered their time as translators for Spanish-speakers who needed access to resources and aid.
“Camille is an exceptional social worker whose intellectual and social formation reflect the Jesuit values of the need for discernment; altruism; unity of the head, heart, and hand in educational endeavors; and the service of faith through the promotion of social justice,” said Dr. Vidal. “She reflects the best of our School and University.”
Morhun is still evaluating her options after graduation, but she’d like to return to Loyola in a few years to pursue a Ph.D. In the meantime, she’d like to continue working with refugee and immigrant communities.
“I’m just trying to listen to what feels right and what opportunities present themselves but I really trust my educational foundation at Loyola that I can go out into the world and create meaningful change,” said Morhun. “I’m looking forward to bringing the principles of my Jesuit education into whatever space I go into. I feel really confident that the School of Social Work has prepared me well to go into any facet of social work that I can imagine.”
Morhun is proof that we can find success by embracing what we feel called to do, even if we don’t know why we are called to do it. Embracing that vocation is how Morhun has found her passion.
“I try to follow what feels right,” Morhun said. “And that’s led me to Loyola, to my master’s program, to my concentration in migration studies, and it just feels very genuine.”