Outstanding first-generation grad is passionate about service and involvement

Jillian Shook will be the first in her family to graduate from college when she picks up her bachelor’s degree in social work on December 15.

Originally from a small farming community in rural Northeastern Colorado, Shook’s move to Fort Collins meant a complete change of scenery and pace. As a first-generation student, she came to school without any guidance and had to find and develop her passions on her own. “I did not know what to expect from CSU or the college experience. Was I making the right choices regarding my educational and professional paths?” She said, remembering what it was like to navigate these big life choices by herself. “I had no idea.”

Jillian, a blonde girl in a cowboy hat and boots guides Cam the Ram near the new stadium.Shook, however, took to CSU like a duck to water. She confirmed her interest in social work, joined the School, and became deeply involved with events and groups on campus. She’s been on the College of Health and Human Sciences Dean’s Honor Roll list since 2016 and leads many of her peers with a 3.9 cumulative GPA. She is or has been, a CSU Ram Handler, Ram Welcome Leader and a Campus Connections Mentor. She has also been involved with faith organizations, intramural sports, TGIF and the Academic Advancement Center.

“One thing I have deeply appreciated about CSU, is that there is literally a club for everyone and everything!” She said excitedly. “Getting involved at CSU has generated a pride in my school, my actions, and myself.”

Along with her academics and involvement on campus, she has also committed to making positive change in the Fort Collins community. She has volunteered over 1200 hours to community services and internships including the Good Samaritan Society, Spring Creek Healthcare, Social Work in Action, Homeless Gear, Operation Bear Hug and Night to Shine Companion.

“Jillian’s positive attitude in the classroom is priceless,” said Danielle Willis, the instructor in the School of Social Work who nominated Shook as an outstanding December graduate. “She brings kindness, a positive attitude, resiliency, and humor to the classroom.”

Shook is currently applying to graduate schools and is hoping to complete her Master of Social Work here at CSU. She is also planning to stay at her on-campus job with the Colorado State University Alumni Association after graduation. “I am excited to experience campus and CSU as an alumnus and am grateful for the opportunity to continue promoting Ram pride, tradition, and Colorado State University in my new position,” she said.

“Coming to CSU was one of my best decisions to date, as it has set me on a path for success in whatever direction I may go.”

The School of Social Work is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.