Elizabeth Sequenzia, MSW student with a concentration in Casework, chooses Social Work with Women and Children in Families as her focused area of study
Bachelor’s Degree: Vassar College, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
From a young age, I have loved working directly with people. However, even after receiving my undergraduate psychology degree, I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to do with my passion. My work as a Child Advocate at a domestic violence program helped me realize that Social Work was the direction I should go in. I applied to the University of Connecticut School of Social Work as soon as I learned about the MSW program, having learned that it is highly recommended. I felt immediately welcomed at the School of Social Work, and was assured that I would be challenged as well as respected.
After much thought, I chose the three year plan of study so that I could continue to work part-time and become involved in the school community without feeling completely stressed out. I am so glad I was able to make that decision! While I am taking a bit longer than most of my classmates, I am getting the most out of my classes, participating in extracurricular activities, and truly enjoying school.
My first year at the School consisted mainly of classes; I did not start my field placement until the second year. This was a time for me to delve into the research and theory of Social Work. Although I worked for two years in social services, I had not taken any pre-graduate social work classes and had only taken one sociology class. What I began to learn changed my life. I had no idea going into the program that it would have such a profound effect on me. As I learned about social injustice in its many forms, I realized that I could no longer stay quiet. I even considered changing my method from Casework to Community Organization or Policy Practice. Eventually I decided to stay on track because I love the direct practice side of the field as well, and I feel it is an important base to have. I have been taking additional courses in the macro methods to supplement my plan of study. I owe so much to my professors and advisors, who have opened doors for me that I did not even know existed. It is a privilege to learn from the faculty at UConn, who have immeasurable experience and knowledge, and facilitate dynamic discussions and assignments.
The second year was even more exciting than the first, as I started my first field placement. My internship at the Resettlement Program, part of Community Partners in Action in Hartford, was incredible. I worked with an amazing team of women to empower inmates and former inmates from York Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s only female prison. The women taught me as much as I taught them, and I will never forget their stories. The experience also made me passionate about changing our state’s unfair and ineffective criminal justice system.
During my first year at the School, I became a member of the Jewish Social Work Alliance (JSWA) and last year I served as Co-Chair for the organization. This leadership opportunity helped me to feel more connected with the school community, and gave me valuable experience in planning and executing events. Being part of JSWA also lets me connect social work with my Jewish identity and the historical oppression of the Jewish people.
To incoming and prospective students: make sure you choose a program of study that fits your needs. Just because you have a BSW does not mean you must pursue the advanced standing option. On the other hand, if you have a family and a full-time job, that does not mean you can’t achieve your Masters degree. UConn School of Social Work has many options; take a look at all of them and talk with the Admissions staff and former students to ensure that you are making the right choices to fit your life and your goals.