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College of Social Work

Mariana Emily Huselton – Class of 2024

Meet Mariana Huselton, a standout BSW Senior and award recipient who has truly maximized her undergraduate experience. With two study abroad trips in Peru and Japan, along with her participation in USC's alternative spring break - Civil Rights Tour, Mariana's involvement in college events has solidified her reputation as an outgoing personality within the social work community. This fall she will pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work at USC, where she plans to integrate her social work expertise with her cosmetology license. We caught up with Mariana as part of an exceptional cohort of future social workers.

mariana in japan doing hair
Mariana doing hair in Japan study abroad trip.


Major: Social work

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

How USC changed my life: The University of South Carolina has changed my life by helping me dream bigger. I did not want to pursue college after high school, as I was graduating with my cosmetology license. My family has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and insisted I pursue higher education for opportunities beyond my teenage vision. I changed majors three times throughout my college experience, from business to psychology, until I found social work. When I discovered the broad spectrum of social work service, as a helping professional, I knew this was my calling. Now I am graduating with my bachelor’s in social work and a minor in psychology.

Advice for incoming students: I advise students to take this time for understanding and creating themselves individually as they emerge into adulthood. Be kind to yourself and those around you, as we are all facing challenges in life. Get involved with student organizations and build their network, sooner than later. I learned about myself as a leader and developed as a professional through acquaintance with other aspiring professionals. We have a diverse selection of student organizations on campus. There are organizations for a variety of hobbies, identities, ideologies, interests, purposes and just about anything imaginable. It is inherent for students to build connections with people of similarities and differences, especially in professional environments.


It is inherent for students to build connections with people of similarities and differences, especially in professional environments.

Mariana Huselton


What I’ve learned about myself: The most important thing I learned about myself as an undergraduate was my strength in persevering for success. My college experience challenged me in many ways. As a first-generation student, I struggled with financial aid. As a student with disabilities, I struggled academically. As a survivor, social skills became a challenge. As a free spirit, behavior occasionally led to self-inflicted challenges. Throughout the collective challenging college experiences, I had a determination for perseverance. My capability to persevere was fueled with the support of family, faculty/staff members, student services, and ultimately God. I found strength in my privileged support system which empowered the capability for determination of perseverance to succeed.

mariana white house visit


A favorite memory: One of my favorite memories was being at Thomas Cooper Library late night during finals week. I remember struggling to find somewhere with enough space for my study set up of notes and final projects. I walked around multiple floors and saw a library full of diverse students sitting silently, scrambling, scribbling, studying and surviving finals. When I finally found a place to settle down, I remember looking around and admiring the inclusive stress period. I found beauty in our struggle together, although all different.

What’s next? After graduation, I will be returning to USC to pursue my master’s in social work and test for licensure. Post graduate school, I plan to begin professional practice on a macro level by advancing social justice and advocating for human rights within the Hispanic/Latinx community. Once I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker, I will begin my self-employed practice in a self-care salon setting.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.