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Student Profiles: Ferraj on Policy Practice

Brunilda Ferraj, a MSW student with a concentration in Policy chose to attend the UConn School of Social Work because it provided her with the opportunity to pursue her dual interests in Policy Practice and International Social Work.

Bachelor’s Degree: University of Rhode Island, Political Science

I chose to attend the UConn School of Social Work because it provided me with the opportunity to pursue my dual interests in Policy Practice and International Social Work. In addition, the School has encouraged me to explore new areas of social work. During my first year I was provided with an opportunity to join a research evaluation team as a research assistant. Through this position, I was able to apply classroom learning to my practice as I worked toward immigrant integration and inclusion within the Hartford area. This experience has been a highlight of my academic career, and I encourage any student to consider the field of social work research as an alternative avenue for the exploration of their interests.

As a first year student, my foundation courses exposed me to a wide range of theory in which I grounded my future work. The Macro Foundation Practice class was a personal favorite that paved the way for more advanced Policy Practice classes. These classes taught me how to develop, implement and evaluate policy interventions, conduct community and organizational assessments, and participate in the strategic planning process. As a student of Policy Practice, I have learned much from the expertise of my professors and academic advisor. Throughout the first year, I was consistently challenged to think critically and be self-reflective, and for this I am thankful. My professors at UConn encouraged me to pursue my individual interests, while exposing me to new concepts and perspectives throughout each step of the way.</p

I completed my first year field placement at the Center for International Social Work Studies at the UConn SSW. As an MSW Intern, I helped create programs to encourage global perspectives in social work, and collaborated with the International Advisory board to develop a strategic plan that would guide the future activities of the International Center. My field placement also provided me with the opportunity to participate in broader international activities such as the Civil Society Forum at the United Nations, NY.

My involvement in SSW activities significantly shaped my first year experiences. As an active member of the student sub-organization, Social Workers for Global Justice, I helped to organize speaker presentations, movie screenings, and other educational events that brought awareness to a wide range of international issues in social work. Also during my first year, I joined the UConn Reads Greater Hartford Sub-Committee for which I supported programs that encouraged community members to read and engage in campus-wide dialogue regarding the UConn 2011-2012 book of choice: Half the Sky, Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide.

Above all, I encourage incoming students to take the time and engage in conversation with fellow peers, faculty, and staff; each person at the SSW has a distinct background, a different perspective, and new ideas that will contribute to your understanding of social work. I also encourage you to become involved in the activities of the SSW. Join one of the various student sub-organizations, attend a SSW event, or participate in one of the many community outreach activities. Not only do these experiences build personal friendships, but they also open doors to a wide range of professional opportunities.