Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Michiko Frances Chikahisa Interview
Narrator: Michiko Frances Chikahisa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 17, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-cmichiko-01-0021

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TI: Okay, but going back to your career, so you graduated in social work and then you went on and got your graduate degree.

FC: Yeah, 'cause I, she's the one that told me that the Catholic Charities had a scholarship, one year scholarship for graduate school with a commitment to work for the agency for one year. And so I said okay, I'll do that, so then I went to UCLA 'cause she, that was when UCLA first started the school of social welfare, and she said, you go to USC, you use up the scholarship money paying for tuition, go to UCLA, tuition is still affordable. So that's why I went, but UCLA was in the throes of getting established, faculty could hardly get along with each other, they did some horrible things to the students, they'd drop 'em mid semester and all this kind of stuff. It was not a good climate at all, but anyway, I felt I needed to go back to, go to work to pay back the scholarship, so I went to work for Catholic Charities for five years and then decided I needed to get my Master's. So then I went to --

TI: So at UCLA you weren't able to complete your Master's so then you just had a few courses.

FC: I finished one year.

TI: One year.

FC: I completed the first year, but I didn't go on for the second year.

TI: I see.

FC: And we came to a mutual agreement that I had never worked and I never knew the world. There was a time for me to take a break instead of pursuing, going into the second year. So I went, and I never thought I was gonna go back. I was figuring I did this, I'll work for Catholic Social Service and that'll be my career, but after started working I realized that I needed to complete the degree. And I applied then for a federal, a National Institute of Mental Health grant, and so then I was able to go to USC 'cause it was a pretty good grant, and I finished the second year. And the dean at USC was a wonderful woman and she welcomed me and she really tried to help me feel good about the profession, Dean Johnson, so I was lucky I got in and I really attached myself to USC.

TI: So that's where you got your Master's.

FC: Yes.

TI: And so this is about, what, 1956?

FC: Yes.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.