Yuen Lam Shek is originally from Hong Kong, where she obtained her Bachelor of Social Work. After working in the field in Hong Kong, she decided she wanted to study abroad and moved to San Diego to complete the 1 year MSW program at SDSU. She chose SDSU because she had heard about Motivational Interviewing, and was interested in learning more. She was also drawn to San Diego because it is a very diverse area. Shek completed the clinical social work track last year and loved the close bond of her cohort. She learned a lot from the emphasis on evidence based practice at SDSU, and completed a publishable paper with Dr. Min. The completion of this paper was very rewarding for Shek because English is not her primary language.
The knowledge she gained from SDSU helps Shek in her current work with low income and homeless individuals in San Francisco. However, working with the homeless population was a transition as she hadn’t had much experience in this area. She was also new to the area in San Francisco, so she did research to prepare for her role and to understand resources that are available for the homeless population in the area. She recalls a rewarding moment in her career, which stemmed from a sad time when one of her clients passed away. Shek had helped the client get set up in a new apartment 6 months prior. She supported the client emotionally and provided resources. After hearing that the client passed away, she received a phone call from the client’s family, who thanked Shek for her hard work and said that she made a positive difference. This helped her build confidence in her role as a case manager.
Shek plans to take her LCSW exam and get licensed within the next few years. She really enjoyed her year at SDSU and learned a lot. She is thankful for all the people who helped her along the way. Her advice to social work students is to enjoy the time you are in school, and to try to learn and challenge yourself – there is always support and help available to set you up for success.
Like this article?
Written by Kelly Reilly