Social Work: The Power To Heal and Transform

by Caitlin A. Fredericks
Shield Staff

Students pursuing a degree in social work at Rochester College aim to serve others and to make the world a better place.

Desire To Volunteer 

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Sarah Reddick, associate professor of social work and sociology, believes the desire to volunteer helps students find a passion for a career in social work.

“In the psychological sense, and in the grand scheme, volunteering is beneficial in that it encourages the perspective and mindset of empathetic behaviors, and is especially pertinent to careers pertaining to mental health, substance abuse and public health,” Reddick said.

Student Perspectives

RC junior Allison Roehl has volunteered often at a soup kitchen in Lapeer. “In high school, I spent my time serving 60 individuals, and saw those who would not look up, or would react with hostilities when given another plateful of food,” she said.

Seeing the sadness in people’s faces inspired her to consider social work.  “I realized that God wanted me to understand that I was no better than any other, and that it was imperative to study social work so I could ensure equal pay and jobs,” Roehl said.

Similarly, and through interning at Wayne State University’s outreach program for Hispanics, Amenda Gegic, a senior from Clarkston, realized a marginalized cultural divide existed when she tutored special education children, and discovered that many were incorrectly placed due to the language barrier.

“When I saw the enrichment program failed to look beyond intellect, could not provide meals, education, or counseling needs outside the church, I heard a higher power telling me I ought to go beyond satisfying kids’ basic needs,” Gegic said.

Specifically, and through eliciting this call, Gegic believes her social work degree will enable her to draw more attention to the issues of parental and school neglect, as well as those concerning welfare.

Another social work major, Tiffany Mulligan, senior from Detroit, experienced similar feelings after volunteering at Great Lakes Hospice Center.  “I sat with a woman who had dementia, and resolved to come three times a week instead of twice, when I saw her loved ones walk in and out, make minimal conversation, and refrain from touching her,” Mulligan said.

Reddick said these three students have a “real caring for people,” and commends their commitment to prepare themselves for work in the social work field.

Preparing Students

A bachelor of science degree in behavioral science with a track in social work prepares students for graduate work in the field or for entry-level jobs in crisis intervention centers, counseling clinics, community service agencies or other social agencies. The degree plan includes a practicum in the student’s chosen field of study. Graduate studies normally are required to certify for practice in most agencies and for licensure as a private therapist.

For more information about Rochester College’s social work major, click here, or contact Sarah Reddick at sreddick@rc.edu.