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Meet College of Social Work associate professor Charles Pitre Hoy-Ellis. From a high school drop out at age 15, to pursuing education in his late 30s, he now holds three degrees.

“When I was 15, I told my parents I was gay, and was thrown out of the house. I dropped out of high school, and migrated to the West Coast. In my 30s, my partner of 14 years died. I went off the deep end. I started mental health therapy, which was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

At 38, I took my first college course. I was studying psychology and attended a grad school night for majors where I first heard about clinical social work. I decided to get my MSW.

In my work, I saw adults within the LGBTQ community marginalized because of their age and saw how policies were impacting people’s mental health. I became part of a research team looking at the health and well-being of LGBT adults, aged 50 and older. I got my Ph.D. to help my research be recognized as legitimate.

While my research is important to me, teachers were the positive influences in my life early on. They said or did something that internally shifted me and as a teacher now, I’m hoping to pass that on.”

— Charles Pitre Hoy-Ellis, assistant professor, College of Social Work

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