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Welcome to the Undergraduate Social Work Alumni Page!

As an alumnus of the BSW program, the department of social work values your contributions to the profession and to the education of current students. On this page you'll find list serve information, alumni profiles, and results of a 2009 alumni focus group.

Alumni List Serve

The alumni list serve was created so that alumni can keep in touch with each other/with faculty, post job listings, etc. If you wish to subscribe to the list serve, simply enter your email address and your name in boxes below and click "submit." Your first and last name need to be connected using a hyphen (e.g., Jane-Smith). You will receive a confirmation notice stating that you have been subscribed to the list. Once you've done this, you may send messages to swalumni@list.brockport.edu

Email address:
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Alumni: Putting Their Skills into Practice

Our alumni come from a wide variety of backgrounds and put their degrees to use in myriad practices helping thousands of people nationwide. Below we profile three recent degree recipients. We'd love to hear what you're up to as well. Drop us a line at socwork@brockport.edu.

John Demby

John Demby, BS 2009

After serving 26 years in the Marines which I was privileged to see and interact with a wide variety of people from all over the country and the world.  Early on I realized the ties of family and events at home have a pivotal role toward the mental attitude of the service member and how it affects their daily lives and ability to function on the job.  As a senior Staff Noncommissioned Officer, I was able to assist not only the service member but began to work with helping the member's family as well. There were many young members that needed assistance to survive which included getting social services involved to appropriate food stamps as well as financial assistance. Coordinating with social services on the military base and public services outside of the base, I realized I could be of assistance to making a difference in the lives of service members and their families. After the military, I worked as a plant manager for Cintas Corporation in Buffalo, NY. The workers at the plant came from many culturally diverse social economic backgrounds. It was my first interaction with people outside of the military and it generated within me a greater sense of how the different systems interact and affect the lives of individuals.

I decided to use my G.I. Education bill to pursue a degree in Social work, believing that I could one day help make a difference in the lives of others.   While attending Monroe Community College, I learned the College at Brockport’s program after a professor discussed the program in one of my classes.

Brockport’s program helped me to grow professionally and personally. The human behavior course caused me to look deep within myself -- It helped me to understand my own life and the things that had shaped me to become the person I am today. The internships helped me to understand the importance of the social work ethics and values. By working with clients I learned to provide effective services to non-military families in need.

After graduating I have taken some time off from school, but have applied to the graduate school to pursue my Master of Social Work degree.  I plan to seek work aiding military veterans as well as working to assist the elderly population. I'm currently involved with a grassroots community group that is looking at the problems within the communities involving minority males. I hope to one day be part of an organization performing research on social problems and finding ways to improve conditions or alleviate the problems that affect the lives of others.

 

Carolyn Baker

Carolyn Baker, BS 2008

Since I was a young girl I always loved helping people. I constantly participated in volunteer activities from visiting the sick, to volunteering at Strong hospital in Rochester, and participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program through my highschool. Helping others is a value that was instilled in me by my parents, who coincidently were both social workers. When I learned that I could spend the rest of my life making a difference in the lives of others I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do.

When I was a freshman at the College at Brockport I decided to go check out the Social Work Department. Immediately I was welcomed by the department al faculty and staff. My first semester here I got involved by attending Social Work-sponsored events. I felt like the Social Work Department was one big welcoming family, and I knew immediately that it was something I wanted to be a part of. I determined that I wanted to take a few classes in the major to explore what it would be like. I took classes that were offered to the general population and immediately fell in love with the major.

The BSW program at Brockport helped me grow personally as I learned to push myself knowing that I always could do better. My professors challenged me to learn as much as possible and to grow as a professional and as a person. My professors listened to my interests and guided me to help me become the person I am today. During my time at Brockport I was also able to participate in field education, where I was able to practice what I was learning in the classroom. This was one of the most beneficial aspects of the social work program as I gained real work experience under guided supervision.

Since I graduated, I received my MSW from the University at Buffalo. I am currently working as a Resident Director here at Brockport where I work on a daily basis with college students. I feel that the College at Brockport shaped me into who I am today and I came back to work here as I hope to help shape the lives of other Brockport students. I also continue to do volunteer work in the Rochester area.

In the future I plan to work in the field of pregnancy or adoption. Adoption has always been a passion of mine as I myself am adopted and it motivates me on a daily basis. I hope to one day further my education with either a doctorate or a law degree and I feel well prepared to do so with the education that I received while I was at Brockport.

 

Traci Davis-Taylor

Traci Davis-Taylor, BS 2008

After years of working within a mental health setting I wanted to learn more about mental illness and more specifically, I wanted to provide services to under-represented populations (i.e. people of color).  I felt there was a strong need for service providers of color therefore I chose to return to school and major in social work.                      

Brockport was my first and only choice.  The percentage of clinicians whom I respected and learned so much from received the Social Work degrees from Brockport.                                     

The most valuable part of being a Brockport BSW major was the opportunity to complete my field placement abroad.  Studying Spanish in Costa Rica and working as an social work intern in a geriatric hospital provided me the opportunity to take skills and acquired knowledge learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life practice.  This experience allowed me to grow professionally and personally—It took me out of my comfort zone by seeing the world, poverty, and mental illness from a new perspective different from a U.S. perspective.  Ultimately, my internship experience helped me to think “outside of the box” by enhancing my assessment skills toward individuals and the affects of their living situations.

Alumni Focus Group
2009

Introduction:

The department of social work believes education is a continual process--strengthening relationships with graduates will benefit current students and faculty in relation to sharing real-life practice experience, shaping curricular design, and much more. Alumni benefit by helping to shape future social work practitioners and the profession itself.

In July of 2009, the Department of Social Work, Undergraduate Program invited BSW graduates to participate in a focus group. The purpose of the focus group was to collect information and feedback about participant’s experience in program in relation to career preparation and graduate education. A series of questions were developed by the Department Chairperson, Field Coordinator, and Assessment Coordinator. A significant number of questions were designed to gain insight about participants’ self-perceived level of competence with regard to the recent shift to competency-based education.  Alumni were recruited via email communication from the Assessment Coordinator. Alumni contact information was gathered from the GRCMSW program (current students who were BSW graduates) and from faculty recommendations.  The meeting was held at the College’s MetroCenter in downtown Rochester. Comments were recorded by a student office assistant, while the Assessment Coordinator facilitated the group. The summary/conclusion is provided below followed by the detailed results of the group/participants for each question.

Results:

The three participants represent a diverse range of alumni with each graduating at a different time (2000, 2005, and 2007) and having different areas of practice (substance abuse/mental health, children/family services, and mental health). Each had either completed or was in the process of completing their MSW degree.  All described their BSW education has having prepared them well for the challenges associated with graduate school; field and course work were helpful to learn/apply knowledge and skills. 

When asked to reflect on each of the ten competencies, participants reported they felt prepared to achieve these competencies. Competencies related to critical thinking (2.1.3), diversity (2.1.4), social and economic justice (2.1.5), research (2.1.6), human behavior and the social environment (2.1.7), policy (2.1.8), contexts that shape practice (2.1.9), and the final competency (2.1.10) were described as being very well covered by these alumni.  Competency 2.1.2 (Application of ethical principals) was an area that alumni stated was more emphasized in graduate school and in practice than in the classroom.  One participant suggested ethics could be more of a focus of the Methods/Practice courses.

When asked how their field placements helped them to apply knowledge and skills, the group described how their learning contracts and journal assignments provided structure and focus. Field supervisors were also described as being knowledgeable and providing effective feedback.  One suggestion to improve the field process was to expand placements outside of Monroe County.

When asked if they had suggestions for improving the undergraduate experience, participants described the need to provide more clinical education/coursework as these students didn’t feel prepared for the types of mental health assessment and intervention work expected by their agencies and current employer. One student took elective mental health courses at another institution because Brockport didn’t offer them.  As practicing social workers all suggested that recent BSW and MSW grads need more training in the DSM and other aspects of mental health service provision.

Alumni provided a number of suggestions to improve the BSW website including an emphasis on the variety of job opportunities SW has to offer, faculty expertise, flexibility to take course at Metro and on-campus, and providing information about what graduates are doing with their degrees (jobs, etc.).

Other suggestions included targeting agencies as a potential market for elective courses as there is a need for ongoing education, but agencies don’t always know what is available.  The supportive learning services at Brockport (student learning center) and the positive impact the SSWO has on students’ development should also be emphasized to potential students.

Limitations:
The primary limitation of this report is the information is based on a small number of alumni participants. Future options for collecting information from alumni may include online surveys and more frequent social gatherings between alumni, faculty, and current students.

 

 

 

CONTACT US:
350 New Campus Drive
Brockport, NY 14420-2952
Phone: (585) 395-2324
Email: socwork@brockport.edu.

Last Updated 11/7/12