A photo of a woman in a long sleeve black shirt and blue jeans sittng in a chair.
Angela-Marie Rone hopes to support children and adolescents in her career as a social worker. (Thomas Kojcsich, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

Class of 2024: Lasting friendships put Angela-Marie Rone on a path to social work

Child welfare has long been a passion for the master’s student, who also earned undergraduate degrees at VCU.

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The friendships of her youth have made a powerful impression on Angela-Marie Rone.

Growing up in Yorktown, she became interested in child welfare based on the experiences of friends who had spent time in the system. Now, as Rone graduates from Virginia Commonwealth University in May with a master’s degree in social work, those close ties continue to power her journey.

“Growing up, I always felt like my friends were my family,” said Rone, who moved away from the majority of her extended family as a kid due to her dad’s military career. “The relationships I have formed throughout my life mean so much to me. And so I just wanted to be able to help support, and figure out ways to best advocate for, those who have experienced similar situations as [my friends] in terms of trauma and abuse and neglect.”

Rone, who previously earned undergraduate degrees in social work and psychology from VCU, said those friends occasionally expressed what they wish their social worker had known or done, and she wants to take those lessons and apply them to her own work in supporting children and adolescents as her career as a social worker begins.

“I am really just passionate about supporting and encouraging personal growth and fostering youth development,” she said. “That’s the reason why I really came into social work. When it comes to that intersection between the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system, those are the two systems that I just really have that heart for.”

Rone knew she wanted to attend VCU from an early age after touring the school with her older sister. She earned her undergraduate degrees in 2023 and then entered the Master of Social Work program as an advanced-standing student. When she graduates, she will begin a full-time position at the Henrico County Department of Social Services, where she has been interning as part of her field placement.

Throughout her internship, Rone has been eager to embrace every opportunity to learn.

“I’m always willing to jump into anything and challenge myself and just get a better understanding of ways that I can better support the clients and advocate for clients here,” she said.

Rone also serves as the program assistant for the Office of Student Success at the VCU School of Social Work, where she engages with prospective and current students and helps to host community events. She is a recipient of VCU’s Child Welfare Stipend Program, which provides a $10,000 stipend per academic year to B.S.W. seniors and M.S.W. students accepted into the program.

Off campus, Rone is eager to advocate for the families she will serve as a social worker. In January, she attended the Children’s Home Society of Virginia’s Foster Care Advocacy Day at the General Assembly to help raise awareness of foster care issues among legislators.

Rone looks forward to a brief break after graduation, and then it’s on to a career she has always wanted.

“I’m exactly where I wanted to be,” she said. “To be able to live the life that I’ve always dreamt of living is so amazing, and I know it’s because of the relationships I’ve formed at VCU and the School of Social Work that have really guided me here.”