Students have the opportunity to research and pick out a community problem about the city of Findlay. As a part of the class, students are able to write about their suggestions about how to improve that community problem. These suggestions can then be sent to the city council for review and possible implementation. Some social work students have had their community problem addressed and action has been taken.
Lauren Burke chose to attend The University of Findlay because she could pursue both of her interests – social work and equestrian studies.
“When I shared my unique dream of developing an
equine-assisted therapy program, my passion was fueled and supported by staff,”
“They welcomed my dream and assisted in making it a reality. They
were flexible with my schedule, which allowed me to graduate in four years in
two fields that do not necessarily easily coincide, and they went above and
beyond to help me achieve.”
During her senior year, Burke was able to gain hands-on
experience in equine-assisted psychotherapy through working with Project HOPE
Opening People’s Eyes) in Bowling Green, Ohio. Her work there counted toward
the 450 hours of required field placement experience for social work majors. Through her experience, Burke worked with patients ages 3-64
who were working through a variety of issues: attention deficit disorder,
bullying, low self-confidence, marital problems, depression and more.
“In equine-assisted psychotherapy, the horse is a
co-therapist,” said Burke.
“Horses mirror our behavior. When I teach a patient
to take deep breaths to relax, the horse will do the same. My patients learn
that they can have some control over situations in their lives … I feel like I
make a difference every day.”
In addition to this experience, Burke feels like the faculty
members at UF have helped prepare her for many situations.
have an abundance of experience and knowledge to help prepare and advise us on
how to handle various situations from individual sessions and community
planning to ethical dilemmas and social activism,” she said.
are deeply involved in advocacy … the faculty at UF have helped me foster
leadership skills I never knew I had.”
Burke arrived at the University with “the mentality that
social work is what I wanted to do, and now I leave with the knowledge that
social work is more than just a profession but a way of life.”
In the fall of 2012, Burke will begin a master of science in
social administration degree at Case Western Reserve University. Because the
University’s program is accredited, 30 credit hours will be applied to her
degree. She will complete the program in 12-18 months.
Rochelle Rhoades commits to any big leap … in this case, she has to be 100-percent committed!
Rochelle (Croft) Rhoades graduated with a degree in social work in 2008, she
planned on pursing a traditional social work career working with children. Four
years later, she is still pursuing a social work career, and a master’s degree
from the Ohio State University, but in a very non-traditional setting: the U.S.
entered The University of Findlay as a freshman education major. She quickly
realized that it wasn’t quite the right choice, and after some guidance from
faculty members in the College of Education, decided to major in social work.
It was a field in which she felt like she could thrive, and she could work with
children, which was her original goal.
Walters-Powell, assistant professor and chair of the social work program, and Tony Wilgus, associate professor and coordinator of field instruction for
social work, helped Rhoades succeed in the program. “Tony and Robin made sure
that we were ready for graduation. They pushed me to do better,” said Rhoades.
helped Rhoades to “see her options” and helped her find internships that
matched her interests, such as the Open Arms internship. Walters-Powell also welcomed Rhoades back to campus for an administration internship as part of
Rhoades’ master’s degree program.
her senior year, Rhoades completed an internship at Open Arms Domestic Violence
and Rape Crisis Services. She continued working there following graduation, and
although she was doing good work, “it was an emotional field.” Rhoades knew she
needed to find a different path but wanted to continue in the social work
she was considering her options, Rhoades met a friend who had served in the
Navy. Her interest was piqued, and she talked with a military recruiter.
Because of Rhoades’ completed bachelor’s degree and her good GPA, she is
entering the Navy with the highest rank possible for a new recruit. After she
completes boot camp in September, Rhoades will work as a social worker wherever
she is stationed or deployed, and she will complete her master’s degree from
stationed, Rhoades may work in a veteran center or on-base childcare center
doing counseling for families. If deployed, she may work as a ship’s social
worker, offering counseling services to service men and women who are away from
their families. Rhoades hopes to be stationed in either Florida or Virginia.
advises other students to “be committed to any big leap … You have to be