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Student Profiles: Comaduran on Community Organization

Rio Comaduran, a MSW student with a concentration in Community Organization, chose the UConn School of Social Work (SSW) because of its competitive programming, great reputation, active (in their respective fields) and engaged faculty, and above all, because of its unique international focused area of study.

Bachelor’s Degree: Oregon State University, Major in Cultural Anthropology

I chose the UConn School of Social Work (SSW) because of its competitive programming, great reputation, active (in their respective fields) and engaged faculty, and above all, because of its unique international focused area of study. When I went to an open house event at the campus, speaking with the current SSW students really helped to shine a light on the program and what exactly students can make of their time here – this was a real selling point for me. I am so very happy that I chose the UConn SSW!

My first year experience in the program has affected my life deeply and I feel, has truly changed the course of my life’s direction. In class, I am being introduced to relevant theory, which in turn informs my practice. I love the intellectual activity of putting this all together and being reflective at the same time. I am being educated on social policy and advocacy, program evaluation, and the specifics of International Development and Community Organizing. I have been incredibly emboldened through the support of the faculty here at the SSW – I am now beginning to see myself as they see me – smart, capable, and full of possibility.

My first year field experience has especially allowed me to gain real social work experience, in both micro and macro concepts. I was incredibly fortunate to have been placed at a first-time site for SSW students and I felt so honored to be chosen, due to my professional and academic goals, as well as my background. I have enjoyed every day on site, knowing that I really was breaking ground with a unique interdisciplinary program at the UConn Law School. My passion is working with refugees and immigrants; this is why I decided to enter a graduate program in social work, currently making a career change. Now, in my second year placement, I have the opportunity to represent International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) at the UN in New York City and work along aside other top NGO representatives. I am so excited about all the possibilities this holds for me.

I have had the chance to develop and showcase my leadership abilities while co-chairing a student sub-organization – Social Workers for Global Justice. This organization was directly related to my passions and interests and through it I got to know faculty, staff, students, and professionals in the field also interested in international issues in social work. As the leaders of this organization, we really got to decide which topics we wanted to pursue and highlight, linking global issues directly to classroom curriculum. Through doing this, we brought heavy and often distant topics to life and gave real relevance to human rights issues. Also, through this opportunity, we were able to develop our (as well as afford the opportunity to other students) organization, planning, research, public outreach, and public speaking skills, at the same time creating invaluable networking opportunities for the student body.

My best advice is to get involved in as many ways possible; you will not regret it and through this you may discover something that you did not know about yourself, make new friends, link theory to practice, and make invaluable professional connections. Also, the free food available at most events also does not hurt!