Paul Gaines, Jr., a UConn MSW student with a concentration in Administration, chose the UConn School of Social Work because this program in particular will place him in a more favorable position to continue his work with Active Duty and Prior Service military personnel.
Bachelor’s Degree: Bridgewater State College, Communication Arts & Sciences, Radio and Television Production and Operation
I selected the University of Connecticut School of Social Work (SSW) because this program in particular will place me in a more favorable position to continue my work with Active Duty and Prior Service military personnel. For those that seek it, the support of the faculty and your advisor are readily available. Their guidance will help you to successfully navigate a challenging but rewarding first year.
I chose to participate in Building Bridges as an incoming student. As a result, my experience in Building Bridges was helpful in terms of receiving feedback regarding course load, summer classes, and general transition issues that all new students face at some point during their first year. I recommend Building Bridges to any new student. I rarely saw my Building Bridges Ambassador, but she was readily available by phone or email whenever I had a question or sought feedback.
My field placement during the 2011-2012 academic year was at the UConn Storrs Veterans Resources Department. In addition to maintaining the office, I managed the Student Veterans Oasis, coordinated programs and services for Student Veterans, as well as represented the university at regional meetings and events. I was in direct contact and collaborated with service providers, state politicians, and our CT Veteran population. That internship offered me extensive experience with each of the five concentrations offered through the School of Social Work. Most importantly, working there has enhanced my cultural competency with our Veteran population, and will better position me to maximize service delivery outcomes of my future employer with regard to Veterans.
I have been active in the school community and currently serve as Co-Chair of the Student Veterans and Supporters Alliance. I am also an advisor to the UConn (Storrs) Veteran Students Organization and UConn (Storrs) Skydive Team. Additionally, I serve as a committee member for the Military Initiative Group and OEF/OIF Task Force (Federal Department of Veterans Affairs).
Be prepared to work hard. The first year is extremely demanding, and I strongly suggest that new students begin to work on midterm assignments early in the semester. I also encourage new students to strike a balance between work and maintaining physical and emotional health. Get involved in the myriad of sub-organizations available at the SSW, and use what little free time you have to network with fellow students. I heeded the advice of those who came before me, and it has served me well.