|Major:||MSW, Admin/Community Development|
|Graduation Year:||May 2015|
What made you decide to enroll in the School of Social Work at SDSU?
I initially applied to grad school to become an Urban Planner. I was pretty close to going to the University of Washington, but at the time I was interning at the Lemon Grove planning department and quickly realized this was not for me. Plotting the location of all the light poles in Lemon Grove was not exactly exciting to me.
However I was still very passionate and interested in how physical communities affect the quality of life of people. I considered becoming an MFT because I always got that “you’re a good listener” compliment from others. Randomly someone suggested I be a social worker, that it might fit my interests more. Within that time period, I was working with a social worker at the nonprofit who really inspired me. I began to give the career more thought.
Then, I attended a class with my husband and Mike Eichler was speaking, the previous Executive Director of the Consensus Organizing Center. He spoke about his experience as a community organizer and I was very intrigued. He shared about his work at the SDSU School of Social Work, so I applied. I only applied to SDSU, because I think still then I only had an inkling of who a social worker really was or what a social worker can do. I must admit it was somewhat of a whim.
I’m a firm believer that all roads lead to your path, so it was this combination of post grad experiences that really led me to accidentally discover that I was a Social Worker before I knew what that meant. I’m grateful for that.
What have been your most memorable experiences in the School?
I have a crew of friends from the program who I really love. Meeting those people has been one of my most rewarding and memorable experiences in school. They make me laugh and remind me that some of the things I worry about are ridiculous and other things are more than warranted.
My time in school has also been a place for my inner activist to grow, fueled by the support of classmates, discussions, and opportunities to get involved. It sounds cheesy, but I hold to our Code of Ethics dearly and hope that values of social justice, human dignity, and integrity become ingrained into who I am as a person, not just a professional.
I had the unique opportunity to intern with SD Unified School District last year with high school students who were expelled from school. I will never forget that experience. It has really shaped who I am and the ideals I fight for. I really love working with youth and I would like to think it’s a talent of mine. But it can also be really heart-wrenching and difficult, because at the end of the day, they’re just kids. I remember being the most confused teenager, and I was privileged to grow up in a safe neighborhood with great educational opportunities. It sucks to see children criminalized simply because they are traumatized and confused due to harsh life circumstances on top of going through adolescence. I hope to live in a world one day where this criminalization does not exist.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’m fairly open but somewhere in my 5-10 year plan I would like to get my PhD in social work and teach one day. I love research and would like to continue doing that. I am working right now on the publishable paper option researching mental health characteristics of incarcerated youth, so I hope to continue and expand upon that research.
My perfect job would be a mixture of community development, research, policy, and therapy. Is that possible? Hopefully in the 10-year plan I can experience all of those types of social work.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the program?
I love being in the Community Development concentration because I’ve had the opportunity to do a “non-traditional” placement in my second practicum year. I currently intern at Bayside Community Center and I L-O-V-E it. I’ve learned more there than a classroom can teach. I really like that aspect of the program, that our learning is not just lectures but practical application.
I also really enjoy working on my publishable paper option, instead of taking the Comprehensive Exam. It’s been a really rewarding experience to have a completely self-directed project, with support from my faculty advisor as well. I will probably cry when I’m done with it. It feels like I’ve put a piece of myself into the work.
Describe why you would recommend SDSU to potential students.
First, I want to say if you are truly passionate about being a social worker, this program is already for you because you get to be around people who are truly passionate about the same thing. I think the people, your classmates, make all the difference in the learning experience.
Second, I would recommend SDSU because the school is well connected to agencies in the San Diego community and so you will get a really great sense of social services locally, learning about what you want to do or what you don’t want to do. Both an equally valuable experience.
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