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Student Profiles: Charpentier on Group Work

Kristen Charpentier, a UConn MSW Advanced Standing student with a concentration in Group Work, chose to take her electives within several differenct populations and settings to increase her own understanding of the various aspects of social work.

Bachelor’s Degree: Southern Connecticut State University, Bachelor Degree of Social Work

I wanted to seek a different perspective for my Master of Social Work since I graduated from Southern Connecticut State University’s Social Work program with my BSW. Working for a year after my Bachelor’s degree gave me the opportunity to increase my level of professionalism and the desire to return to school to pursue my passion. I believe the more experiences you gain allow you to become a more dynamic practitioner.

Since the Advanced Standing Program only requires one year on campus, I have made an effort to reach out in numerous ways to make myself an active member of the UConn SSW Community. I wanted to soak in everything the school has to offer! I feel that I have been successful in this goal because I live, breath and eat social work!

I chose to take my electives within several different populations and settings to increase my own understanding of the various aspects to social work. At the UConn SSW, I have been able to take electives around adoption, diagnosing children and adolescents, school social work and women and violence. Having been hired as a work-study student, I am able to stay in the community that I love and help professors conduct literature searches for various courses. I enjoy working on campus and completing work that is relevant to my field.

My field placement is at Bristol Hospital’s Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit. There, I have learned the clinical aspect to social work in a fast-paced setting. Conducting individual sessions, daily group therapy, and family meetings has given me an in-depth look to the various treatment modalities. It has been incredibly informative to work collaboratively on a multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and occupational therapists.

Another opportunity I was lucky enough to experience was the travel study to Germany. We collaborated with the University of Merseburg Social Work students through culture, history and the ways of life of Germany. We shared in our learning of the Holocaust and the implications it has for social work practitioners. We traveled to Merseburg, Leipzig, Halle, Berlin, and the Buchenwald Concentration Camp Memorial in Weimar. This was truly an amazing experience.

As the secretary of Student Organization, I have been exposed to the real life of the school and how our passion, learning, and field practice all come together. I believe being a part of this organization has made my educational experience more meaningful. There are always events sponsored by various sub-organizations and opportunities to expand your knowledge base!
The University of Connecticut School of Social Work is truly a diverse community in that the emerging social workers are the voices of the school. All faculty and staff want to make your vision come to life and will assist you in all ways possible. I highly suggest becoming involved in the school community because it makes your overall social work education more meaningful and you begin to develop a network of resources. Challenge yourself because there is no better time to do so when you have the support of your faculty advisor, field advisor, and your school community. You will be amazed at your own growing process! The sky is the limit!