“The education I received through Seattle University’s BSW program was invaluable, as it prepared me to see people through a lens of strength and possibility, and also revealed the systemic and societal areas of injustice that must be confronted, in order to make a just and humane world possible”.
My decision to pursue Social Work came while sitting in my academic advisor’s office. I had come to Seattle University with the intent of pursuing a degree in Sociology. After explaining to the advisor my passion for helping to affect change, especially in the lives of people from marginalized populations, he encouraged me to switch my degree from sociology, a field that studies people, to social work, a field that works with people. I agreed and immediately switched to the Social Work program.
While in the BSW program my mind was opened to concepts such as oppression, power, and privilege. I learned about the importance of human relationships and how people are constantly interacting with their social environment. Through practicum, I was exposed to real social work clients dealing with an array of issues including substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence. It was also through practicum that I was given the opportunity to witness how social workers can be agents of change assisting people with dealing with their issues and advocating for change within systems and society which too often, through policies and structure perpetuate injustice. While in the BSW program, I completed my practicum with Children’s Administration’s (CA) Child Protective Services program. Upon graduating, I attended the University of Washington’s School of Social Work and participated in the Child Welfare and Training Program (CWTAP).
Upon earning my Master’s I subsequently became employed as a Child Protective Service Social Worker at the same CPS office where I had my BSW practicum. During my time at Children’s Administration I worked in various programs and I promoted to supervisor in 2015. Throughout my 10 years serving at Children's Administration, I passionately advocated for efforts to eliminate racial disproportionality, and improve family engagement within the child welfare system.
I currently work for University of Washington’s Child Welfare Training Alliance providing training and support to the child welfare workforce. I continue to have a passion for improving the Child Welfare System, a passion I found through Seattle University’s BSW Program.
My life has come full circle since leaving Seattle University. In addition to my work in child welfare, I now work for Seattle University’s School of Social Work as an adjunct professor teaching Introduction to Social Work. The class which started me on my social work journey. The education I received through Seattle University’s BSW program was invaluable, as it prepared me to see people through a lens of strength and possibility, and also revealed the systemic and societal areas of injustice that must be confronted, in order to make a just and humane world possible.
1st Lt in the USAF, BSC, Clinical Social Worker, serving as a Mental Health Provider in the 1st Special Operations Medical Group at the Mental Clinic at Hurlburt Field.
Comments from a letter to Professors Brennan and Zeff.
I have thought of the both of you often in my work as a clinical social worker in the Air Force. I hear your voices in my head whenever I am making a touch decision with a pt or having a difficult time figuring out the RIGHT thing to do.
I appreciate so much the education that I received from SU. I can see it being used in every session I have.
I am just about to be promoted to Captain, and I work in the Mental Health Clinic at the Special Forces Base here in Destin, FL.
The work is hard. Saying that is an understatement. It is very difficult. I am struggling to keep people alive.
I just wanted to say hello to the both of you and let you know how much I appreciate the education, the guidance, the mentoring and most of all the care I received from you both.
Thank you so much for helping to develop me and shape me to be a competent and ethical Clinical Social Worker!
“Without a doubt, my education from SU’s Social Work program prepared me well for the work I’ve gone on to do. My experience is that the practice of law requires many times some aspect of social work. The empathy and humility that I learned during my education only aids my effectiveness as a poverty lawyer. To those considering pursuing social work or law, or any field that requires daily interaction with communities, I highly recommend the Social Work program at Seattle University. The professors “get it,” and work with you to be the best advocate possible”.
I started college at a different university to study psychology. By my sophomore year, I realized I cared less about the science of why we are who we are, and more about the social, cultural, and economic factors that contributed to how we approach life and the challenges we may face. After some research, I realized that a degree in Social Work is really what I was after. I transferred to SU my junior year and graduated with my BSW in 2009.
I loved the BSW program. I loved my cohort and the open conversations we had which led to deep personal discoveries for many of us. I became close with many in our small cohort and appreciated the intimate learning environment. I also learn best with hands-on learning, and found that the Social Work program at SU gave me plenty of opportunity to do that.
During my senior year practicum, I was placed at one of the public defenders offices to learn about forensic social work. I learned about the criminal justice system and the way that our life circumstances and upbringing can have a profound effect on our likelihood to come into contact with the criminal justice system. I learned about race and class are deeply intertwined with criminality and how the justice system often prays on, or fails, people of color and poor people.
My experience at practicum sparked in interest in law, American jurisprudence, and social justice. My purpose from that point on has been to affect change through law. I applied and was accepted to Seattle University School of Law, where I earned my Juris Doctor degree. I attended law school part time and worked as a case manager for Catholic Housing Services (CHS). In my work with CHS, I often worked alongside attorneys to advocate for formerly homeless women.
Upon graduation, I decided to start my career in the Southern United States. My interest was in working within communities of color, and working in less progressive communities where attorneys like myself were sorely needed. Since that time, I have been working for Georgia Legal Services Program in Albany, Georgia, the “Deep South.” A culture shock it has been. But the rewards professionally, personally, and spiritually have been like nothing I could have imagined. In Albany, I’ve learned about working with people of vastly different backgrounds from my own to achieve positive social change for a greater America.
Without a doubt, my education from SU’s Social Work program prepared me well for the work I’ve gone on to do. My experience is that the practice of law requires many times some aspect of social work. The empathy and humility that I learned during my education only aids my effectiveness as a poverty lawyer.
To those considering pursuing social work or law, or any field that requires daily interaction with communities, I highly recommend the Social Work program at Seattle University. The professor’s “get it,” and work with you to be the best advocate possible.