Paula Nieman, MSW, LCSW has a broad range of research interests after many years of direct social work practice and over a decade in BSW social work education. Committed to both my students’ development and to the clients they serve, Paula has become increasingly engaged in scholarship about what it means to “be” a social worker, and to “do” social work. Informed by historic and contemporary debates within the profession about its mission and purpose, she seeks to better understand the process by which a person “becomes” a social worker, especially during the transition from formal social work education to the early years of professional practice. Paula’s current research uses critical phenomenology to explore the lived experiences of early-career baccalaureate social work practitioners in Massachusetts. She is investigating early-career practitioners’ sense of professional identity, identifying and critiquing the historical, social, political, and economic forces that shape professional identity.