Taylor Sun
Assistant director, Joy House, Denver, Colorado
Taylor Sun

Fostering community

Taylor landed her dream job right after college when she began working at the Joy House, a housing program for women and children escaping domestic violence. Northwestern’s intentional community prepared Taylor for her job in the home, where she lives and plays a variety of roles to support residents.

What are some of your responsibilities at Joy House?

My biggest role is to help cultivate a culture of love and grace. We hold our residents accountable while also making them feel loved and honored. This balance takes up most of my time and energy. On a tangible level, I provide case management. This includes working with the women in their recovery—advocating for them in the court system, with Child Protective Services and with their psychiatrists. We also help residents find good work and meet their goals so they can graduate as self-sufficient women. Together, our staff makes meals for our community, leads group sessions, hosts events for our families, administers drug and alcohol testing, and keeps the house running. Just the other day, I was cleaning up trash one minute and handling a resident emergency the next. In true social work fashion, my day rarely goes as planned. 

What led you to pursue a social work major?

Since I was little, my heart has been drawn to hurting people. I am so grateful I pursued this career because I know social work is my calling for much deeper reasons. I believe in everyone’s access to opportunity, and that’s what I get to do every day—help people gain access to a life they deserve. 

How well did Northwestern prepare you for your current job? 

Northwestern prepared me well because I was able to engage in an intense and challenging social work program. I also had professors who invested in me, and I had opportunities to be exposed to different people and cultures—like three Spring Service Partnership trips and a Summer of Service in Athens, Greece.

What are some strengths of Northwestern’s social work department?

I could not think more highly of Northwestern’s social work department. My professors had high expectations that pushed me to be a strong, prepared and educated social worker. Our assignments were applicable to what our practice would be like, and the materials we studied were relevant. The classes were well-thought-out, and I always knew my professors were focused on providing me with the best education possible. In class, we always engaged in meaningful lectures and conversation. My professors also cared about me as a person, which gave me a good example of how to love my clients well.