Student Approved

Timothy Lafferty

Hometown: Findlay, OH

"A: When I was looking for a college, I was looking for various things, including location, costs and programs available. I chose The University of Findlay because originally, when I was introduced to social work, I realized I wanted to do." --Timothy


Community Involvement

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.

Social Work Alumna Continues Career Overseas

Heidi Mercer graduated from The University of Findlay in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. After spending one year in California as an AmeriCorps volunteer and working on several other projects, Mercer completed an intensive one-year program at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to earn a master’s degree in social work in 2008.

“UF opened the box for me – to travel, meet new people and learn new cultures.”

"Growing up in Findlay, the University was in my backyard, but my eyes were opened when I..."

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Lauren Burke chose to attend The University of Findlay because she could pursue both of her interests – social work and equestrian studies.​

Lauren Burke

“When I shared my unique dream of developing an equine-assisted therapy program, my passion was fueled and supported by staff,” she said. 

“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.”

Lauren Burke During her senior year, Burke was able to gain hands-on experience in equine-assisted psychotherapy through working with Project HOPE​ (Horses 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.”
Lauren In addition to this experience, Burke feels like the faculty members at UF have helped prepare her for many situations. 

“Faculty members 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. 

“Social workers 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!

When 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. Navy.

Rochelle Rhoades

Rhoades 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.

Robin 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.

Walters-Powell 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.

During 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 field.

Rochelle As 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 OSU online.

Once 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.

Rhoades advises other students to “be committed to any big leap … You have to be 100-percent committed.”