Marianne Cannon Hill
Marianne Cannon Hill graduated from the University of Utah in 2009 with a BA in psychology and a minor in Spanish. She went on to acquire her master’s degree from the University of Utah, College of Social Work and graduated in 2011.
As a freshman, Hill took a political science class from Dr. Dan Jones. One of her favorite memories is him standing in front of the class and passionately asking, “Are the states truly sovereign?” This is where Hill’s interest in politics started. In the summer of 2008, she completed a global internship with the Hinckley, through the non-profit organization Ascend Alliance, in Riobamba, Ecuador. This internship had an immense impact on Hill’s undergraduate education and put her on a hopeful path for graduate school. While working in Riobamba, Hill worked alongside Ecuadorians and conducted her work exclusively in Spanish. Because of this experience, she not only enhanced her use of the Spanish language, but cultivated creativity in communicating in her workspace.
As part of the internship, Hill and her compañeros (colleagues) worked with the indigenous population who lived in the nearby hills. They worked to educate the indigenous people in microenterprise and water systems. Hill learned several key lessons that would become invaluable to her future social work training. “Once I was working alongside the people, I truly understood the value in the communities expressing their needs to us rather than us dictating the support we intended to provide. This principle is one of the core concepts for ethical social work practices, and the Hinckley provided a way for me to learn this lesson.”
Though the people were very warm and welcoming, Hill also learned how it feels to be a stranger in an unfamiliar culture for an extended period of time. At times she would stand in circles where she could not fully comprehend the conversations and be left wondering what to expect. This was another invaluable lesson for Hill and her field of social work. This experience gave her a new level of empathy for those who experience this same feeling in her own culture. “This internship with the Hinckley provided me with skills I could have never predicted would be so essential to my social work career.”