Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Buhrman

Jessica graduated from Ashland University with her degree in Social Work in May 2009. Today, she works as a Licensed Social Worker for Williams County Department of Job and Family Services in Bryan, OH. Specifically, she works as an Ongoing Caseworker for Child Protective Services. She also recently married her college sweetheart, Jake, who she met at AU! Below, check out our Q & A with Jessica to see what she’s up to and to learn about her past experiences at the university and in the social work program.

Q: What are some day-to-day duties in your current job?

A: I manage a caseload of children and their families who have been investigated due to child abuse/neglect/dependency and are in need of ongoing services. I am required to record notes, make/return phone calls, coordinate community services, write reviews of the family's progress with their case plan goals (services), attend court hearings, attend home visits with the parents and children (foster homes or own homes) and transport children or parents to any visits or appointments they may have.

Q: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your occupation?

A: When a parent thanks me for my support and services and I can see that I helped make a positive change in someone's life. Also, the children that I have and continue to work with have made my job so rewarding -- I ultimately do what I do for them.

Q: While a college student, what inspired you to major in social work?

A: I initially started college as a business major and honestly did not know much about social work. During my sophomore year, I decided to find out more information about social work when a friend introduced the major to me. I met with Nancy Udolph and was inspired to start taking social work classes. I knew I have always wanted to make a difference in people's lives and I felt that by majoring in this profession, I would be doing exactly that.

Q: What was your overall impression of the social work program at AU?

A: The social work program at AU is truly remarkable. It was informative and professional. My professors prepared me for my social work occupation and provided their own experiences and knowledge that have helped shape me into a true social work professional.

Q: What advice do you have for anyone currently majoring in social work?

A: My advice is to challenge yourself and reach out for support when you need it the most, whether it be with other classmates or your professors.

Q: What characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a good social worker?

A: I believe that you have to present yourself with true professionalism and understanding into your client's needs and/or wants. I believe that you have to be well-educated in your field and know how to properly use the knowledge and tools that are provided to you. I also believe that you need to use the experiences that you have and learn from them to ensure that you grow not only has a professional, but as an individual as well.

Q: Do you feel your social work classes, field experience and other AU courses prepared you for the real world?

A: I feel that my social work classes, field experience and other AU courses have prepared me. I was able to gain knowledge in the social work field and use that knowledge as a professional. I am so thankful to all of my professors and AU for the education that I was provided.

Q: Would you recommend that prospective students attend AU? Why or why not?

A: I would recommend that prospective students attend AU, as the campus and staff are truly outstanding. The staff really care about you as an individual and help shape you into the best professional you can be.