Regina McNamara, MSW student with a concentration in Administration, chooses social work as her next career
Bachelor’s Degree: Barnard College, Columbia University, Bachelor’s in Psychology
As an “age-challenged” student, I applied to the UConn School of Social Work to launch my third career. With my MSW, I hope to combine my prior business experience with my life-long interest in helping others in a new career path. What I didn’t realize was how enriching and eye-opening the School of Social Work program would be. The commitment to social justice on the part of individual faculty and the coursework as a whole is inspiring. As students we are encouraged to think big, and as importantly, think concretely about implementing societal change individually, locally, and globally. Trite but true, the broader perspective this program requires us to consider has literally stretched my thinking.
In addition to the course work my field work has been a great opportunity for me to practice and expand theory in a real-world setting. My field supervisor for my first year placement at the Department of Elderly Services in City of New Haven made every effort to provide me with challenges that were specifically designed to meet my learning goals. With her guidance, I was able to develop case assessment worksheets and protocols for a newly forming Hoarding Task Force for the City of New Haven, and to develop and facilitate educational support groups for a newly launched aging-in-place model in New Haven, called East Rock Village.
In addition to my field work, UConn SSW has offered me many different ways to become more involved and informed outside the classroom from the many sponsored SSW lectures, student groups and events, to keeping me apprised of various ways to help locally in the Hartford community. This year I was one of many student ambassadors selected to help ease the transition to SSW for entering students through the Building Bridges Program.
With all of that in mind my advice to new students is: Don’t be afraid to ask—or to test yourself! Certainly as an older, returning student, I was apprehensive about how I would fare when I came to SSW but I found support everywhere. Fellow students, faculty, and my field work supervisor were all there ready to help me set and attain my educational goals. So, my advice is: ask, try, listen, and most of all, dive deep!