After graduation, I worked in the field for a year before pursuing my MSW full time. I worked as a part-time Victim Advocate for the Victim Services Division of the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office, which allowed me to walk alongside individuals victimized by crime as they experienced the justice system. I then got my MSW degree from Millersville University and completed a graduate placement with Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Currently, I work for an organization called Educational Data Systems Inc. (EDSI). I am a Behavioral Health Specialist with the Employment Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) program, which works with individuals receiving TANF/cash assistance. Each week I meet with the individuals who have been newly enrolled in the program and complete a family assessment with them. I ask how I can best encourage the individuals as they go through the process of finding and retaining employment, follow up with the clients to offer resources, and provide emotional support.
The primary way I integrate my faith with my current work is through the kinds of interactions I have with clients. Every person deserves grace. Every person deserves patience. Every person deserves kindness. No matter what my clients bring to me, I try to meet them where they are and be a consistent presence of support. I try to create a safe, judgement-free space, that also leaves room for reality and difficult conversations. Each facet of the professional relationships I create with my clients is inspired by the support and strength I receive through my faith.
Messiah's Social Work Department prepared me for both grad school and work in the professional field as it explored the theories and foundations of practice while also providing the opportunity to apply those principles in work experiences. Messiah’s program instilled the importance of core skills like advocacy, self-care, boundary setting, asking good questions, acknowledging what we may not understand, and continuously seeking to learn more. These are frameworks that I use everyday in the work that I do now.
The most impactful experiences I had in Messiah's Social Work program were the field placements I completed, the discussions I was able to engage in with professionals from various social work tracts, and the opportunities to serve the surrounding community. All of these experiences allowed for the application of the skills we were learning in the classroom as well as the exploration of interests within the social work field.
Yes. Messiah's program allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful individuals; I am blessed to be able to say that my peers became my lifelong friends. The sense of camaraderie between the students is one of a kind. The encouragement we received from each other as we each moved through the classes together not only helped us to focus on and commit to the material, but also helped us to grow as individuals. I am inspired by those I graduated with, and I know that I can still turn to these now professional social workers for support when I need it. Messiah's program provided the opportunity to develop these relationships, and for that, I am extremely grateful.