Fall 2022 Social Work Newsletter

Upcoming Events & Dates

MSW Current Student Panel 

Graphic for MSW current student panel, occurring on Monday January 9th, 2023 from 6:00-7:00 pm (PST) on Zoom. Join to meet students from three MSW cohorts.

Date: Monday, January 9, 2023

Time: 6:00-7:00 PM (PST)

Location: Virtual (register here)

  • Join us at our MSW current student Q&A panel! We have panelists from both our 2-Year (generalist and specialized years) and Advanced Standing programs. Learn about the SU MSW program from the student perspective. 

Upcoming Virtual MSW Info Sessions

Winter Quarter Graduate Programs Open House

Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Time: 4:30-6:00 PM (PST)

Location: Virtual (register here)

February Professor Highlight (date TBD)

Stay tuned for more information and a registration link!

Faculty News/Updates

Headshot of Dr. Derr

Seattle University's Director of BSW Program and Social Work Associate Professor Dr. Amelia Derr gave a presentation in November entitled, "Educating for Radical Resilience: Sustaining Students in their Social (Justice) Work" at the Council on Social Work Education's Annual Program Meeting. Read the summary and abstract of Dr. Derr's presentation here.

Headshot of Dr. Kang

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work Chair, and MSW program Director Dr. Hye-Kyung Kang recently published "Re-Envisioning Social Work Education." Dr. Kang's article explores the importance of social justice in clinical social work pedagogy and discusses the process of Seattle University's social work faculty in devising a social justice-focused curriculum for a clinical MSW program. 

Headshot of Professor Sam Harrell

SU instructor Sam Harrell, MSW recently published, "The Case for Mandatory Reporting as an Ethical Dilemma for Social Workers." Professor Harrell's article presents findings from a content analysis of social work textbooks on mandatory reporting of child abuse in the U.S. The authors propose that social work education should prepare students to navigate mandatory reporting as an ethical dilemma, contextualize mandatory reporting within other social discourses, and integrate macro social work ethics into practice.

2022 Midterms: Takeaways for Social Workers

Blue, white and red drawing of a ballot box

by Sarah Smith, MSW Student

           Many Americans might have breathed a sigh of relief after the 2022 midterms—the “red wave” never came to fruition and America saw the election of many representatives who are making historical firsts and providing representation for disenfranchised communities (WUSTLBrownSchool, 2022). However, social workers should not continue “business as usual” following the 2022 midterms. Instead, social workers should remain constantly critical of threats to democracy and should work to engage individuals and communities around key political issues in their local communities and states.

            The 2022 midterm elections saw an increase in representation within government: Maxwell Frost is the first Gen-Z member elected to Congress, Maura Healey became the first woman and openly gay person elected governor of Massachusetts, and Wes Moore became the first Black person to be elected governor of Maryland (Zhou, 2022). The 2022 midterms also saw an increase in the number of social workers elected to Congress (WUSTLBrownSchool, 2022). According to panelists of the Brown School webinar “Social Work Responds to the Election,” results of the midterm elections indicate that perhaps the American government is beginning to look more representative of its people. While representation may empower disenfranchised voters to mobilize around particular issues and highlights the potential impact of their political involvement, voter suppression and other barriers also prevent the political mobilization of minoritized and disenfranchised communities. To engage more Americans in elections, social workers must acknowledge and aid in the dismantling of those barriers.

            In Michigan, a ballot measure introduced in 2018 led to the creation of a nonpartisan committee that would redraw the state’s heavily gerrymandered districts (WUSTLBrownSchool, 2022). According to one panelist, this ballot measure from 2018 aided Michigan’s midterm results in 2022, allowing for fairer representation and for voters to address voter suppression tactics. Michigan’s example stresses the impact ballot measures might have on local and state elections and how ballot measures might combat unjust practices like gerrymandering. Because voter suppression primarily occurs at the local and state levels, social workers should remain politically active at those levels, not placing sole emphasis on mobilizing voters for federal elections. The breakdown of Congress following the 2022 midterms means federal change will be difficult, also placing more responsibility on local and state governments for making change. Therefore, social workers should seek to consider what changes are possible in their local communities and states, even if they are engaging with their communities in a micro setting.

            Although the midterms provide some hope amidst America’s current political climate, Trumpism and election denial is not gone (WUSTLBrownSchool, 2022). Social Work Responds to the Election” panelists noted that democracy does not always end with a bang or the sound of an alarm. In the thick of book bannings, increased divide, and low trust in government, social workers might strive to be those alarm sounders, but must do so before it’s too late. Instead of registering members of their communities to vote days or weeks before an important election, social workers should continuously strive to engage with their communities politically year-round. A panelist suggested social workers redefine what “business as usual” means in social work and that social workers incorporate community formation and mobilization around the issues and systems working against many Americans into business-as-usual social work.

            In 2022, a majority of young voters between the ages of 18-29 voted for abortion as the top voting issue (WUSTLBrownSchool, 2022). A panelist from Social Work Responds to the Election” suggested that social workers interested in increasing their political involvement start with one key issue in their local community. Young voters’ mobilization around the issue of abortion in the 2022 midterms demonstrates how one key issue can have a wide political impact during elections. As clinical social workers, perhaps we start by seeking to learn about the key issues affecting our local communities and by engaging voters in our everyday settings, although it is necessary to consider the many barriers that suppress people’s rights and abilities to vote. The National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign argues that voting is social work and has information available for engaging voters in one’s community, such as information for registering various populations to vote, knowing one’s voting rights, and ordering absentee ballots (Voting is Social Work, n.d.). As an MSW student, I am considering how this information and these lessons from the “Social Work Responds to the Election” panel can be applied to my clinical practicum setting, as case managers at my practicum site could also connect clients with voting information, and voter registration forms could be made more accessible to clients in our day center. Social work is political, and voting is social work, yet voter suppression and disenfranchisement impact people’s abilities to do so. Therefore, protecting and advocating for the right to vote and engaging in key issues at the local and state levels are also responsibilities for social workers. 


Voting is Social Work. (n.d.) The National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign. https://votingissocialwork.org.

WUSTLBrownSchool [Username]. (2022, November 17). Social work responds to the election [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRpo8BQTaqU.

Zhou, L. (2022, November 9). The first Gen Z member of Congress – and several other historic  firsts. Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/23448463/midterm-elections-results-2022-frost-gen-z-congress-healey-huckabee-sanders.

Student Highlight, BSW: Cullin Egge 

Headshot of Cullin Egge

What inspired you to go into social work, and why did you choose Seattle University’s program?

I’m from a small town in Minnesota and knew I wanted to go to a small, private university in Seattle or Chicago. I chose Seattle U mostly because of the beautiful campus and its location near Capitol Hill, but also because I have family here and the weather is better!

I came into college undecided and considering public affairs, sociology, and social work. I was ultimately chose social work because of the professional commitment to social justice, ethics, activism, and advocacy. Since then I’ve also come to appreciate the focus on empowerment and agency; critical thinking and systemic awareness; and evidence-based, anti-oppressive practice.

Have you received any awards or scholarships?

Both my junior and senior year I was accepted into the Naef Scholarship Program, a cohort of upper-level undergraduate students dedicated to social justice and community involvement. Last year, I became a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society for social work students. I am also proud to have made the President’s List every quarter so far.

What has been the most rewarding or exciting part of your time in the BSW program?

For me, one of the most rewarding parts of the BSW program is my cohort. Over the last year or so we’ve developed a tight-knit community that continues to be an invaluable source of support as we navigate the ups and downs of our senior year. I also really appreciate the faculty in the social work department; they’ve all played a crucial role in my personal and professional development and I can’t thank them all enough!

What personal strengths are you proud to bring with you as a social worker?

In a society that can so often feel divided, individualistic, and exclusionary, I truly believe social workers and care providers are building a more empathetic and inclusive future where nobody is left behind and the common good is prioritized. I’m proud to bring active listening skills, cultural humility, and a passion for collective liberation with me into my future career.

What is your practicum this year, and what population are you working with?

My practicum site is Lifelong, a non-profit organization in Capitol Hill that works with people living with HIV and AIDS. I’m part of the medical case management team and learning lots!

Are you involved in any on-campus groups, clubs, or activities and/or are you involved in any research?

I am involved in a variety of on-campus migration-focused activities. First, I am a member of Advocates for Migration Justice, an on-campus club dedicated to supporting immigrants locally and nationwide. We work with Jesuit Refugee Service and local organizations like Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest.

I also work closely with Dr. Audrey Hudgins in the Matteo Ricci Institute on migration-related projects. We have attended Jesuit Migration Network conferences together and recently co-presented at the AAC&U Conference on Global Learning. This year I am the student leader for her migration justice FQ class and winter break immersion to the US-Mexico border.

Finally, after conducting community-based participatory field research together in Mexico last summer, we are now working towards the publication and presentation of a mixed-methods article on our preliminary findings. This is the beginning phase of a longitudinal study on the effects of temporary labor migration on Mexican farmworkers, transnational families, and their communities. I am grateful to be able to work and learn with Dr. Hudgins and excited for what’s yet to come!

What are your plans after graduation (And when do you graduate)? Or what do you hope to do in social work after graduation? 

I’ll be graduating this coming June 2023 with a Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish dual degree. I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly what comes next, but I do know I’ll be moving to Mexico City next summer and beginning the next steps of my career there. I also plan on pursuing a Masters degree in the next few years, either in Mexico or the US.

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self if you could?

You have a huge heart, care so much, and work restlessly to achieve your goals. Try not to forget to take care of yourself too, there’s only so much of you to go around. And when you feel overwhelmed, lean on your support network, celebrate the little victories, and remember why you do what you do!

Student Highlight, MSW: Sabrina Figueroa

Headshot of Sabrina Figueroa

Are you involved in any on-campus groups, clubs, or activities and/or are you involved in any research?

Going into my first year as a graduate student I was open to the idea of joining an on-campus group or club, however, once I officially started, I realized I may have been in over my head. I went straight from undergrad into the SU MSW program and suddenly my days weren’t nearly as free as they used to be. As a first-year student I was focused on creating a routine for myself that allowed for me to have a social life. Trying to manage classes, practicum and work was more than I could handle at the time and the thought of a group or club quickly evaded my mind. However, I found ways to be involved with my cohort during this time and they became a huge support during that adjustment period. I participated in weekly get-togethers at Rhein Haus and joined zoom check-ins when our classes went online due to Covid. Although these aren’t the typical groups or clubs that I had hoped to join it’s what worked for me and I’m glad I prioritized what I needed at the time.

Have you gotten any awards or scholarships? We want the details!

I received the Seattle University Graduate Scholarship upon my acceptance to the program in 2021. This annual award is equal to $3600 prorated between the terms of enrollment. This scholarship was renewable for the terms necessary to complete my degree based upon my continuous, full-time enrollment and meeting the satisfactory academic progress requirements for the program.

Where did you get your undergraduate degree and what did you study?

I went to Washington State University (WSU) and received my Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies.

What inspired you to go into social work, and why did you choose Seattle University’s program?

My experiences at Washington State University have built a solid foundation for my future endeavors in social work. Although I started my undergraduate career as a Pre-Nursing Major and later changed my major to Human Development, it taught me invaluable lessons throughout the process. Being able to delve into the medical field and truly understand the immense amount of injustices within this countries health care system pushed me to ask more questions. A huge question being whether I wanted to help people physically or whether I wanted to help people in other ways. Growing up I have always known I wanted to help people and through my time at WSU I was able to really dig deep and figure out what my future could look like. In addition, the Human Development professors I had the pleasure of meeting opened a whole new realm of interaction and class discussions that I had been craving. Throughout most of my STEM courses I found myself absorbing mass amounts of knowledge, however, many of my classes were missing the important conversations surrounding problems millions of people are facing today. However, through my Human Development classes I was able to talk about topics ranging from families in poverty, to child development, to death and dying. The conversations within my courses always pushed me to have important conversations and open the floor for my peers to give new perspectives. Through these conversations I realized just how many sectors of our immediate community as well as those outside our community needed people to advocate and provide them with the help they needed. So, I began looking at social work and the different ways I could use my voice and knowledge to uplift and support those who are struggling.

I truly believe that at some point in one’s life they are approached with an opportunity that truly changes their perspective on everything they thought they knew. My opportunity took place throughout my time working for a non-profit clinic known as Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada. Through my involvement with this organization, I was able to gain direct service experience as a medical scribe and program assistant. Furthermore, I was able to support a community outreach program geared towards assisting those in poverty gain access to healthcare. The patients ranged anywhere from infancy to elderly patients. Many of the patients included children ages 7 to 12 and many of them had only been to the doctor a handful of times because their families either couldn’t afford it, or they were dealing with unforeseen circumstances. On the other hand, there were older patients receiving help with managing diabetes or chronic illnesses. Working one-on-one with these two specific groups has given me the opportunity to move from theory to practice with the concepts I’ve studied throughout my Human Development Courses. Through this experience I was able to see first-hand experiences that at-risk youth and older demographics are currently facing in today’s society. However, the harsh reality of it all became very evident as time went on. That reality being that so many Americans are going without proper healthcare and in turn they are suffering from the consequences. Some days I couldn’t bear to sit back and listen to the recanted stories of patients who were continually neglected and refused assistance to receive healthcare before coming to VMSN. However, it made me realize that there was so much work to be done outside of this experience. So, if I wanted to see change within social injustices such as this, I decided that I would have to step up and use my knowledge to advocate for these marginalized communities. my focus when searching for a school was to find a program that was social justice focused and Seattle University offered just that.

What are your plans for after graduation? Or what do you hope to do in social work after graduation?

My plans for after graduation are still up in the air, however, my hope is that I land a job at my current practicum site (SCI). My plan in the meantime is to apply to as many positions that interest me and if another opportunity arises then I wouldn’t be opposed to that either. When I started my journey in the MSW program I was set on working primarily with children and after nearly 2 years and tons of experience under my belt I am open to pretty much anything. I do have my preferences, but I truly believe everything is a learning experience worth trying at least once so the possibilities are endless.

What is your practicum this year, and what population are you working with?

My practicum this year is at Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) and I am working in the hematology-oncology clinic. My population is primarily older individuals with blood disorders or blood cancers such as Leukemia and Lymphoma.

Do you volunteer or do any social work activities outside of school?

During my first year in the MSW program I worked on the weekends for a healthcare company called TeamHealth. This company is a physician-led, patient-focused company that works with various physician groups throughout the country. My position was titled the “call-back coordinator” and this mainly consisted of being a direct liaison between hospital staff, nurses, pharmacies, patients and providers across the country. Although this wasn’t direct social work, I often found myself using various social work skills such as active listening, critical thinking, information gathering, empathy and communication. Overall, it was a very informative experience for me and I’m glad that I could gain a new perspective around the many challenges within the healthcare setting.  

What has been the most rewarding or exciting part of your time in the MSW program?

The most rewarding part of my experience in the MSW program has undoubtedly been my cohort members. This program would be nothing without my peers and over the past 2 years I have learned more from them than any textbook or lecture could have given me. A large part of this being because of the insightful conversations and varying perspectives that my cohort members brought to class. Their ability to have difficult conversations that inspire growth and self-awareness is vital to our work and having the space to do that was greatly appreciated. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self if you could?

One piece of advice I would give my younger self would be not to sweat the small things. I’m not quick to give myself grace during difficult times, but as I’ve grown older it’s become more apparent that life goes on regardless of the circumstances. Although that does sound cliché it really is the truth. I often let little things get to me and the reality is that the paper you didn’t finish will still be there and the pile of clothes you couldn’t get to will get done sooner or later. So, moral of the story is that you should protect your peace as much as you can because ultimately that paper or that laundry pile will eventually get done and there’s no use in beating yourself up because of it.

What personal strengths are you proud to bring with you as a social worker?

I have grown immensely since the start of this program and every day I learn something new about myself. A large part of this program is focused on processing our unconscious biases and reflecting on ways to support others without letting our “stuff” get in the way of that. Although it hasn’t always been easy it’s allowed me to be a better social worker and build meaningful relationships with my clients. Overall, I am proud of my ability to be self-aware and thoughtful as I engage with clients and support them in their needs.

Reminders & More...

2023 MSW Applications Reminder

Deadline reminder for 2023 MSW Applications. Priority deadline is January 20, 2023 with no application fee.

The priority deadline for 2023 MSW applications is January 20th, 2023. Apply here!

Reminder: Washington Behavioral Health Workforce Development Initiative 

Graphic for Washington Behavioral Health Workforce Development Initiative-awards up to $51,500 based on unmet need to offset the cost of MSW tuition


A reminder that Seattle University MSW students participating in the Washington State Behavioral Health Workforce Development Initiative receive a grant that offsets master’s degree tuition by agreeing to serve in a Washington state community behavioral health agency or tribal health center following their graduation!

This innovative program is designed to expand the number and diversity of mental health counselors, social workers and therapists in Washington state who serve individuals with severe mental health or substance use challenges in Washington's community agencies. The initiative provides grants, up to $51,500, to students in advanced social work and counseling programs at 13 participating universities across the state in return for their service post-graduation in approved community-based behavioral health or tribal agencies.

See the full list of requirements and information about how to apply, and read through frequently asked questions. A list of target community behavioral health agencies can be found here.

MSW Student Blog

Check out the latest MSW student blog posts from this quarter!

Employment Alerts

Sign up to receive weekly, employment alerts. Social work job opportunities are compiled each week and are sent out in one email each Tuesday. 

Employers, please send employment opportunities to SocialWorkJobs@Seattleu.edu.

Sign up here