Name: Brian Thammavong
Major: Social Work
Student Organization Affiliation: Asian Pacific Islander Social Work Association
Graduation Year: 2017
What made you decide to enroll in the School of Social Work at SDSU?
As a San Diego native, I always knew that I wanted to give back to my community. After receiving my undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies, I became a contractor for Juvenile Probation, Child Welfare and Extended Foster Care. Having no formal educational background in Social Work, I decided to enroll in the Master’s Program at the School of Social Work at SDSU after realizing how much more effective and versatile my education would make me within the field. In addition, I felt that SDSU’s deep ties to the San Diego community would allow me to make connections all throughout the field of social work in San Diego.
What have been your most memorable experiences in the School?
Having co‐founded a non‐profit, my most memorable experiences in the school have been in my interactions with the instructors, the staff and the other students in the program as it pertains to the growth and development of my program. In speaking with the faculty and staff, I have been able to gain valuable knowledge and advice towards the development and growth of my program. Many of my instructors have been very eager to hear about the growth and progress of my program, and are always willing to give advice. Speaking to other students about the program has also been very empowering, both for myself and my fellow students. Knowing that it’s possible to start a non‐profit has been very inspiring, and I’m always happy to encourage others to pursue their passions in the field of Social Work.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be working as a Protective Services Worker for Child Welfare Services (CWS) through the Title IV‐E program. With my previous work experience as a teacher, I am also considering a move into School Social Work where I hope bridge some of the professional distance between Child Welfare and Education through my combined experiences. While working in the public sector, I will also be working towards licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). My intention is to practice different forms of Art and Narrative Therapy in addition to my primary work in CWS and Education.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the program?
The faculty have an amazing amount of practical experience in their subjects, which is important in complementing our theoretical education with practical expertise. Hands on experience is important in learning how to become a future practitioner, and the field placements are a good chance to experiment (and possibly fail) in a safe and supportive learning environment.
Additionally, I enjoy connecting with the other students in the program as I feel like I am building great networks and relationships with those who will be my future partners in social work. The student organizations are a good place to learn leadership and to build lasting relationships with the people who will soon be co‐workers and collaborators in the field. Additionally, they’re a good way to get to know people and to practice communal self‐care to relieve some of the stress of graduate paced education.
Describe why you would recommend SDSU to potential students.
I would recommend SDSU to potential students because of the high quality of instruction and the expansiveness of SDSU’s roots in the local community. The excellent faculty are able to combine theory and praxis, which can then be put to use in the immediate community through SDSU’s rich network of service partners throughout San Diego. By joining rigorous classroom work with a rich field experience, I feel that I’m well prepared to make a substantial impact on the local community as well as the greater social work landscape.
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