Like mother, like daughter: Shaws simultaneously earn master’s degrees in social work

Mother-daughter duo will walk together during the fall commencement ceremonies with Master of Arts degrees in social work.
Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media contact: Alicia Rohan

47D36AF2 061C 4779 A7D6 298D4353B0D1Janet and Mallory ShawGraduating from college is one of the most profound milestones in a person’s life. For the Shaw family, graduation pride is twofold. Janet Shaw and her daughter Mallory Shaw will each receive master’s degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences in social work. For Janet and Mallory, this degree is about a legacy — the legacy of Janet’s late mother and Mallory’s grandmother, who often dedicated her time to serving the Birmingham community.

“I always knew I wanted to follow in the footsteps of such incredible women who were known for bringing joy to both their personal and professional lives,” Mallory said. “My interest in social service stems from growing up and watching these strong female figures making a difference in our community.”

Navigating the way together

Janet Shaw became a licensed baccalaureate social worker in 1993 and has been serving Legacy of Hope, Alabama’s federally regulated organ and tissue procurement organization, since 2008.

“Although I have always been proud of this accomplishment, I desired more as I moved through my career,” Janet said.

She learned about the social work graduate program around 2019. She was quick to say yes to this opportunity, applied and was accepted. Her journey began in 2020, which was around the same time Mallory was graduating with her bachelor’s degree and was accepted into the UAB social work graduate program.

“When I realized we would walk together for our graduate degrees, the journey took on a whole new perspective for me,” Janet said. “The feeling of having completed my graduate degree, at my age, with my daughter is something I cannot adequately express.” 

AE799387 E7B2 4E0B 958C B5915F747529UAB: A generational affair

UAB has been a part of the Shaw family for three generations now. Janet’s mother was a volunteer at UAB for about 35 years. Now, she and her daughter will graduate from UAB when they walk across the stage Friday, Dec. 9, at the Fall 2022 Graduate Commencement.

The mother-daughter duo says they are excited to pursue a profession that will allow them “to be the change they wish to see in the world.”

“We dedicate our degrees to the loving memory of our great mother and grandmother,” said the Shaws. “We know in our hearts that she has been at our side throughout this journey. We are grateful for UAB and how it has impacted our family; it will always hold a very special place in our hearts.”