Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Congratulations to the 2014 Social Work Graduates!

Front, from Left to Right: Maureen Centa, Jennifer Tenbrook, Amanda ROberts, Liz Marconi, Nikki Wrubel, Alexandra Higgins, Bethanee Burden, Hillary Falter. Back, from Left to Right: Samantha Woodby, Professor Nancy Udolph, Professor Michael Vimont, Hillary Krause, Katelyn Exner.  Not Pictured: April Clark

Of our 12 graduates, 9 have jobs lined up (before they even graduated!) and one is off to graduate school.  Congratulations, Graduates!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Jennifer Tenbrook, Intern at Ashland Parenting Plus

What are your job duties at your internship?  What kinds of activities have you been involved in at your agency?

My primary duty is to create interactive lesson plans and lead the groups. I go into Ashland Middle School, Ashland High School, Mapleton Middle School, and Ashland County Community Academy (ACCA). In these schools, I lead the girls’ groups. Throughout the semester, I have led lessons on reproductive biology, protective factors (conditions that reduce the effect of stressful life events), STDs, relationships, and drug and alcohol use. I have also conducted research on the teen pregnancy rates in Ashland County to determine the success of Ashland Parenting Plus’s programs. This research will be used to provide evidence that the agency needs to advocate for a program for our transition youth (18-19 year olds) who are no longer in the program but are still at a high risk for teen pregnancy. I have also worked with the Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Committee (CAN) to help plan the events for April.
How has Ashland University's Social Work program prepared you for your internship?
One thing that I thought I would rarely use was the information we learned in our research class. However, my biggest project required using skills that I learned in that class (thanks, Dr. Vimont). The program also helped with knowing how to interact with clients and show empathy effectively. I was very nervous when the internship started but quickly realized I was well prepared.
What has been most enjoyable or valuable about your internship experience so far?
Interacting with the students is definitely my favorite part. My group sizes vary from 2 students to 10 (as long as everyone shows up). There is never a dull moment with the students, whether they are in a good mood or a bad mood…or both during the same group.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alexandra Higgins, Intern at Richland County Children Services

What are your job duties at your internship?  What kinds of activities have you been involved in at your agency?

During my time at Richland County Children Services, I have had the opportunity to be a part of a variety of experiences. I have been fortunate enough to be able to shadow and observe the work that intake and ongoing caseworkers do on a daily basis. I have also been able to get my feet wet with the agency’s kinship care program, which provides services to family members that have taken in a younger relative like a grandchild or a niece or nephew who was not able to stay in their home. After looking at a variety of previous surveys, I developed my own survey to deliver to kinship caregivers in Richland County to identify gaps in services in order to help develop new or improved services in the future. I have also had the opportunity to attend both community and state-wide meetings such as the Ohio Grandparent Kinship Coalition.
Alexandra Higgins and her internship supervisor
from Richland County Children Services

I couldn’t imagine a better placement for myself and I am so happy that I got the opportunity to do my internship here!
How has Ashland University's Social Work program prepared you for your internship?
First and foremost, AU’s Social Work program prepared me for my internship with professors who care. I don’t know what I would have done without such great mentors that have helped me over the past four years.

The program has also really brought me out of my shell. It has helped me to learn how to engage others and brought out interpersonal skills that I didn’t know I had. Of course, the program has also helped me in terms of classes and giving me a firm knowledge base that I am positive will help me in my career after graduation.

What has been most enjoyable or valuable about your internship experience so far?

The most enjoyable AND valuable experience of my internship so far is the opportunity to meet so many new people. The people I have worked with at the agency have really opened up to me and made me feel so comfortable in a place that I was initially nervous about interning. Not only am I appreciative of my colleagues, but I am also appreciative of the clients that I have worked with through the agency. I have learned even more from engaging with them and the children that I have met have really inspired me to make a career out of child welfare.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Maureen Centa, Intern at Caring for Kids

What are your job duties at your internship?  What kinds of activities have you been involved in at your agency?
The agency I am interning for is an adoption and foster care agency. In my role, I have worked in all programs the agency offers.
In the private infant adoption program, I have transported birth mothers to appointments and have taken them out to lunch. I have been a witness for the signing of permanent surrenders, in which birth parents relinquish all rights to their baby. I have also shadowed adoption counselors while they have worked with a potential birth mother in creating their birth plans.
In the foster care program, I created and facilitated a two hour training for foster parents on creating a network of support partners. I have completed court packets of required documentation that have to be submitted to a court prior to an adoption finalization. Once a month, I have worked with foster children while their foster parents received ongoing training.
Maureen Centa, intern at Caring for Kids, with her supervisor
Wendy’s Wonderful Kids is another program at Caring for Kids. In this program, I spoke on a panel about why it is important for children to have life books. I attended many trainings on how to find families for the longest-waiting, hardest to place children. I learned the child focus recruitment model. I work on mined child files, which means looking through the child’s entire file looking for names of individuals who could be an adoptive resource for the child or a permanency partner for the child. I prepared a child’s file for presentation to an adoptive mother—this is when we make copies of all medical, educational, mental health, and life history documents to give to the adoptive family.
With the Public Search program, I attended a match staffing, where the county’s children services agency pick an adoptive family for a child or sibling group. Caring for Kids represents a family wanting to adopt the child or sibling group and presents why they would be a good family for the child/sibling group. In this program, I was also taught how to search for children across the country that are available for adoption in hopes of matching them with one of our waiting programs.
In the licensing portion of the agency, I became a certified home study assessor. I assisted in training families wishing to adopt or foster. I shadowed and assisted home studies on families wishing to adopt and completed safety audits on homes that wished to adopt or foster. I audited files on foster and adoptive homes to make sure their files were complete and done correctly.
A couple other projects I worked on were updating the agency state policy book and online database to be sure we had the most up to date policies. I reviewed an educational DVD set to see how useful the DVDs would be for foster parents and I created a new partnership between Caring for Kids and College Now Greater Cleveland in order to help the agency’s clients reach their higher education goals. I arranged for College Now to speak at a staff meeting regarding their services and I created a resource binder with helpful fliers and information from College Now.  
How has Ashland University's Social Work program prepared you for your internship?
Ashland University helped prepare me by exposing me to social work experiences early on in my education. Through shadowing experiences my sophomore year and working with a nursing home client my junior year, I felt like I gained so much real life experience that prepared me to work with clients in my internship.
What has been most enjoyable or valuable about your internship experience so far?

My most enjoyable experience in my internship has been assisting the training of 34 people wanting to adopt and foster. I enjoyed interacting with the families and answering their many questions.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hillary Krause, Intern at Ashland County Catholic Charities

Hillary Krause and her internship supervisor from
Ashland County Catholic Charities, Pamela Bugara

What are your job duties at your internship?  What kinds of activities have you been involved in at your agency?
I am involved in family support services, which provides home based services to families within the county. I have also been trained in Child Assault Prevention (CAP) and I go into schools to present CAP material to the students in several schools within the county. I am a part of the Child Abuse Prevention Month committee that plans events for the month of April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month. I am also involved with the MGM (multi-generation mentoring) program at the Loudonville public library, which connects elementary school students with senior citizens who provide assistance with homework and reading.
How has Ashland University's Social Work program prepared you for your internship?
The Social Work program is a generalist practice program, which has helped me deal with the many experiences and levels of Social Work with in my agency. Every day, I deal with clients on a personal basis, but then I can switch to working with the community. Having the generalist practice education provided me the ability to use the different levels of Social Work.
What has been most enjoyable or valuable about your internship experience so far?
Working one on one with the clients and providing them with resources they need has been both enjoyable and valuable to me. These individuals do not typically have a great support system and I serve as that person to them.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bethanee Burden, Intern at Ashley's Place

Bethanee Burden, Social Work senior and intern at Ashley's
Place, with her field supervisor, Amy Burk-Salyers.
Tell us a little bit about your internship placement. 
 Ashley’s Place, named after a victim of sexual abuse in Sumner County, is a Child Advocacy Center near Nashville, Tennessee, which provides a safe place for children who have been sexually abused to receive help in dealing with the abuse. The center also provides help for the child’s family in dealing with what has happened to their child. 
Ashley's Place exists to provide multiple services to children and their families who have been victims of child sexual abuse, physical abuse and witnesses to violent crimes. Child abuse has a devastating effect on the emotional and psychological well-being of a child. Appropriate intervention is crucial for these young victims to grow into emotionally healthy adolescents and adults, which Ashley’s Place provides.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?

I have loved interning at Ashley’s Place thus far and have several duties that have prepared me well beyond my expectations. I have been involved in working alongside victims and their families, law enforcement, the department of children services, child protective services, district attorneys, forensic interviewers, as well as our trauma focused therapist.  
Ashley’s Place conducts the initial interview with children in a friendly environment to determine if the child has been a victim of severe physical or sexual abuse. Our double sided mirror has allowed me to watch all of these interviews alongside law enforcement and children services. My internship has allowed me to work with families and victims below the careful eye of my supervisor, Amy Burke (executive director), as well as other professionals. I have been able to attend court as an advocate on behalf of victims of sexual abuse; I am serving on the foster care review board, as well as getting involved with DCS, parenting groups, and therapy sessions. 

By engaging in therapy, I am learning Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques and talking with children and teenage girls about past experiences alongside our amazing therapist the center offers to all victims. I am also participating in macro events such as working at a community 5K event informing the community on what Ashley’s Place does. We have also been to high schools discussing an ‘I Never Thought It Was Rape’ talk.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared your for your internship?

Ashland University’s Social Work program has prepared me for this internship in so many ways. The various classes I have taken and past volunteer work I have done through the program has come to life in my internship. I am living what I learned in class and am able to draw back on what I have learned in my program and apply it to my internship. I would not be here today in Nashville, Tennessee, with this wonderful experience if it weren’t for my Social Work professors who have worked so hard with me to get me here. 

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?

The most enjoyable part of my internship so far would be the relationships and confidence I have gotten out of it. I know that I have been more than prepared and trained in all competencies to start my career in this profession when I graduate and I have Ashland University to thank for this.

For more information about Ashley's Place, visit their website

For more information about Ashland University's Department of Social Work and Family Studies, click here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Samantha Woodby, Intern at the Richland County Youth and Family Council

For every senior Social Work major, the spring semester means the beginning of a semester-long field experience. Students complete a 500 hour internship placement at an agency supervised by a current Social Worker. This is an incredible opportunity for students to gain knowledge and experience about working in the field. 

Samantha Woodby and her supervisor from the
Richland County Youth and Family Council
Samantha Woodby shares her experiences at the Richland County Youth and Family Council with us in the first of twelve Internship Spotlights.

 - What are your job duties at your internship?  What kinds of activities have you been involved in at your agency?

I am interning with the Richland County Youth & Family Council. My duties at the Council vary on a day to day basis. One of my main responsibilities with the Council is to serve as the Service Coordinator. Currently, I am working on process evaluations for two different services that we offer at the Council, juvenile diversion and care management. My goal for this internship is to learn as much as I possibly can. I hope to get involved in as many community activities as I can while I’m here in hopes that this experience will help to prepare me for a future career.

 - How has Ashland University's Social Work program prepared you for your internship?

The professors in the Social Work Program at Ashland University have done a wonderful job of preparing me for my experience as an intern. I encounter situations each day that require the use of the skills I have been taught in the social work program. Some of the things that I have learned in the program at AU that I use regularly in my internship include interviewing and assessment skills, case management skills, human behavior theories, research skills, and most importantly, skills that allow me to build strong working relationships with the people I serve. I have come to find that the skills that I have learned in this program exceed those that are taught in other Bachelor level social work programs. As a student, I feel highly regarded and respected by many professionals in my community because I am coming from Ashland University.

 - What has been most enjoyable or valuable about your internship experience so far?

What I like most about my internship is that I have had the opportunity to gain experience in not just one, but several social service agencies in my community. The Youth & Family Council is a collaboration of many agencies in Richland County. I have been lucky enough to spend time in a few of these collaborating agencies. In doing so, I’ve been given the opportunity to network with several of my community’s leaders in the social work field and to learn about the field from various perspectives. In addition, this experience has allowed me to gather information regarding many of the resources that are available in my community. These are both valuable things that I will be able to take with me when I finish school and move into a Social Work career.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2013-14 Academic Year Sees Record Number of Social Work Majors

The social work program announced today that the number of majors to the program broke an all-time record at Ashland University. Fifty-seven (57) students are now declared majors for the professional degree. This exceeded the previous high number of 49 majors reported in 2007 and 2008. If current trends continue there should be over 60 majors next year. A record number of prospective freshman have declared social work as their major for next year, which should exceed the number of graduating seniors (12) this year. The graph below shows the trend in the number of students majoring in social work since 1999 (from the Office of Institutional Research).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Welcome Back!

The spring semester at Ashland University has begun and internships are underway for senior Social Work majors. The Department of Social Work and Family Studies would like to welcome back all students as well as the department’s adjunct faculty (Professor Fox, Professor Gibson, Professor Kuo, and Professor Opper). Good luck to all students with their semester’s coursework and to our seniors in their field placements!

For more information about the senior field experience at Ashland University, click here.