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MSW Alum Malika Poindexter Finds Calling at St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office Victim Services Unit

Saint Louis University MSW alum and Executive Director of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office Victim Services Unit Malika Poindexter has always been drawn to the impacts a social worker can have on society.

Poindexter (MSW ‘98) is living her passion for social work by giving back to a profession, school and education that has given her so much.

“Social work deals not only with the psychological, but with the understanding of the impacts of society, social and cultural. It takes all of that into consideration, because that’s what makes a person,” she said.

Malika Poindexter, M.S.W. '98
 

Saint Louis University opened the door for Poindexter at an early age through the Upward Bound bridge program, and she quickly fell in love with the school. 

The Saint Louis University School of Social Work and Masters of Social Work program became a strong fit for Poindexter by focusing on the whole person and the greater good.

"One of the main things that I think is a very good highlight of SLU is, especially because when I went to school you had that word 'traditional student' or 'nontraditional student' and I was in the category of nontraditional student,” Poindexter said, “is that SLU offered a way where I could literally do what I needed to do as a mother and go to school at the same time, and I really appreciated that.”

Since graduating from SLU, Poindexter has filled a myriad of positions at the Circuit Attorney’s Office.

She has worked as a field instructor organizing and leading practices for other social work students, a domestic violence advocate and a certified field instructor, before becoming the Executive Director last year.

“It’s very rewarding to know that you’ve made an impact on somebody, whether it’s getting saved from a domestic violence abuser or (feeling) like they got justice, or those that felt like you believed them and they’ve been heard,” Poindexter said.

As a certified field instructor and organizer, Poindexter has firsthand experience helping students “put the practice in practicum.” 

Poindexter’s introduction to the Circuit Attorney’s Office came via her foundation practicum while attending SLU. She eventually turned that practicum experience into a volunteer job and later her first job with the office.

She has opened the door for other St. Louis-area college undergraduate and graduate students fulfilling their foundation and concentration practicums in the same way she experienced.

“Malika is an amazing alum who has given back to the School of Social Work through her service and student mentoring. She regularly serves as a field instructor/mentor for current social work students in a practicum with her,” Clinical Professor and Coordinator of Continuing Education Pamela J. Huggins, MSW, LCSW, said. “In addition, she has provided other service to the school as the community member on the MSW Program Committee and participant in the St. Louis Collaborative's Field Instructor Orientation.”

As Executive Director, Poindexter leads the Victim Services Unit while still fulfilling some field instructing.

She also places emphasis on always pursuing her passion for social work while caring for her team of coordinators and making sure that self care is always relevant when addressing the daily challenges of their work.

”It’s the victims, it’s the students, and it’s the staff that remind me why I get up in the morning and do what I do,” she said.

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in public health, social work, health administration, applied behavior analysis, and criminology and criminal justice.