Creating positive impact in the Calgary community

MRU alumni shares her passion for social work


Maryjane Kanikwu smiling with a Calgary neighborhood in the background.

Maryjane Kanikwu feels that her time at Mount Royal helped her shift perspectives and become more confident in her skills and abilities.


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Maryjane Kanikwu, a 2020 graduate of MRUs Social Work Diploma is a case coordinator at the YW Calgary (YWCA), a women’s shelter in Calgary, where she’s making a meaningful impact.

“My desire to positively impact lives is why I chose to pursue social work. I always knew I wanted to be more than a bystander in society – I wanted to be a change agent,” Kanikwu says.

Kanikwu shares that although Mount Royal University is far from her home in Nigeria, she felt a sense of belonging on her first visit to the school.

“I chose Mount Royal because it has one of the best social work programs with instructors who are knowledgeable and experienced in their fields. The program is geared towards equipping students with appropriate skills and providing hands-on experience,” she says.

Mount Royal provides opportunities for hands-on learning both in and outside of the classroom. Smaller class sizes allow instructors to connect with each student individually.

“I had amazing instructors who were always willing to provide guidance and mentorship, which continued outside of the classroom.They were always accessible and ready to provide support when needed,” Kanikwu says. “I left each class feeling confident because I was able to voice my opinions with no judgement.”


"I chose Mount Royal because it has one of the best social work programs with instructors who are knowledgeable and experienced in their fields."

Maryjane Kanikwu


Kanikwu shares that her time at Mount Royal helped her shift perspectives and become more confident in her skills and abilities. Completing two practicums during the length of the program and being able to put theory to practice provided Kanikwu with learning experiences that prepared her to enter the workforce immediately upon completion of her studies.

“Even as a student I was given the opportunity to lead in various capacities. From group projects to faculty projects – I found myself thinking critically. I became more solution-focused, thereby developing my problem solving skills and my interpersonal skills which are reflected in my current role,” she says.

In her role as a case coordinator at the YWCA, Kanikwu is able to empower vulnerable women with appropriate skills while guiding them on their path to self-sufficiency.

“I’m able to positively impact lives and that is an accomplishment for me,” Kanikwu says.

In the future, Kanikwu hopes to create change in her role as a social worker on a macro level by returning to Mount Royal to complete the new Bachelor of Social Work degree before obtaining a masters degree to become a clinical social worker.

“Although I’m still on the path to accomplishing most of my career goals, my social work diploma has created amazing opportunities for me. Social work offers so many practice paths, and that’s what makes it a unique profession,” she says.

April 14, 2021