As far as Vivian Robinson is concerned, you can never quite do enough to help a child in need. She has built a life around helping children, and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“I plan to make things better for as many children as I can in different ways and in different places,” she says.
Vivian works as an administrative case reviewer for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She says the most rewarding part of her profession is making a difference in a child’s life.
Further illustrating Vivian’s love of children is the fact that she has eight adopted children from Asia, which she says is her most important personal accomplishment.
Vivian won the Congressional Award in 1999 for her work in adoption.
“It was a most inspirational time for me,” she says. “I still make trips to China and Vietnam to help children in orphanages. We send care packages and help with various nutritional and educational programs for needy children.”
Vivian graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a minor in biology. She earned her master’s degree in social work from Southern Illinois University in 1999.
Vivian says her secret to success is perseverance.
“I earned a scholarship to Southeast through hard work and scholastic achievement. I often worked three jobs to make ends meet while earning my degree. My time at Southeast was an inspiration to my life's work. The staff cared. They hired me in the psychology department during my student days and shared with me a strong commitment to learning.”
She says her favorite memories at Southeast include helping Dr. Lloyd teach psychology and becoming a charter member of Southeast’s Psi Chi chapter, the national honor society in psychology.
Vivian shared the following advice for current and future Southeast students:
“Connect to your dreams – the people at Southeast will help you find the way.”
Vivian currently resides in Harrisburg, Ill. She has four grown children of her own. In her spare time, she enjoys photography and making a difference in third-world country orphanages.