Imahni Hawkins '24

Humans of Saint Martin's: Imahni Hawkins '24

Photo of Imahni Hawkins

Social workers are, in a way, mentors for other people and that’s what I’m all about – being a mentor to my community, because I’ve always had a mentor to fall back on myself.

Imahni Hawkins '24
Act Six Scholar, Cadre 2

I’m from Tacoma, Washington, specifically the Hilltop neighborhood. Being from that neighborhood has definitely shaped me into the person I am today, from my behaviors to how I interact with people. In the 90s, Hilltop was a very gang-affiliated neighborhood, and although it isn’t as bad anymore, it still is today. Since then, Hilltop’s population has mostly comprised of lower-income POC communities, and up until recently, we’ve been going through gentrification. Growing up in that neighborhood, you see a lot of different things that most people probably shouldn’t see. For example, I witnessed my neighbor getting evicted from their house by the SWAT team. Seeing that right before I’d go to school and then having to wait for the bus at the bus stop in front of that same house just moments after didn’t feel bizarre at the moment because I’ve always seen or heard of crazy things like that happening at Hilltop. Looking back at it, though, I can see that those kinds of things don’t happen in a normal neighborhood.

Despite these terrible events that often took place at Hilltop, there were little hidden gems in the neighborhood. For example, one of the big reasons why I’m even at Saint Martin’s is because of this little program back at Hilltop called the “Peace Community Center.” The Peace Community Center is located in the Lutheran Church down the street from my house, and I would go there every single day after school – mostly because my friend went there, but also because it was a great program to get tutoring and help with essays. The Peace Community Center is the main reason why I applied to college because they would invite people from different schools and organizations and have them do presentations. This gave students who were part of the program an opportunity to branch out and see what lie ahead of us beyond our neighborhood.

I’ve had an academic mentor ever since I was in middle school, so it’s safe to say that I’ve always had an academic coach. During my junior year of high school in 2018, I started doing Running Start, so I was always incredibly busy with homework and didn’t really have the time to think about other things besides that. I became especially busy during my senior year in 2020. With that being said, it was difficult for me to find the time to apply to colleges. However, my academic coach in high school introduced me to the Act Six Scholarship, and it changed my life. With the Act Six Scholarship application, I was able to apply to five different schools all at once, so it took a big weight off my shoulders. Today, I am proud to say that I am an Act Six Scholar at Saint Martin’s University. Without Act Six, I wouldn’t even know about Saint Martin’s or be here today. Act Six is more than just the money – it’s a family, support group, and networking program. Act Six has provided me with a wide variety of opportunities just by giving me access to come to this school. So far, I’ve been able to take on different leadership positions and be a part of different clubs. In addition, I’m currently a social work major, and I honestly don’t think I would have chosen social work as my major if I hadn’t come to Saint Martin’s. Because Saint Martin’s is a small school, you really get to know people on a personal, one-on-one, level. When you pair this with my background and experience at the Peace Community Center in Tacoma, these showed me that social work is the path that was meant for me. Social workers are, in a way, mentors for other people and that’s what I’m all about – being a mentor to my community because I’ve always had a mentor to fall back on myself.

This all goes to show how great community and leadership can influence someone’s life. Without Hilltop, the Peace Community Center, Act Six, and Saint Martin’s, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. These backgrounds and experiences have allowed me to better identify what I’m capable of and what I’m passionate about, and that is helping my community the way it has always helped me.


Social Work

Looking for a career dedicated to helping individuals and families cope with the difficult challenges of life? Social work may be the best major for you.

  • Main (Lacey)
Type of Instruction
  • In Person
  • Bachelor of Social Work