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SPS Social Work Student Spotlight: Jamie Rush ’20

Meet Jamie Rush, a senior social work major and Spanish minor. She shares what she learned from her experience as a social work intern at YouthBuild. She was recently accepted into a master’s program at New York University.

Please tell us about your internship.

I began my internship at YouthBuild the first semester of junior year. At YouthBuild I served as the social work intern on the staff at the Providence location. YouthBuild is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for life building skills, education, counseling, and other life skills to a group of at-risk young adults. Individuals who come to YouthBuild are trying to get their lives back on track by learning/growing in a smaller environment with hands-on help and services. As the social work intern, I meet one-on-one with students weekly to gauge their mental health/well-being and suggest any services that I think would be helpful for their job development and/or for dealing with other obstacles (i.e. housing, insurance, driver’s license, job applications) that they need help overcoming. Each day is different. I love social work as a profession because I know that I will always go to work on new cases and other things. On a typical day, I review case files for my students and resolve/work through any ongoing obstacles the student is facing. I meet with students to assess their mental health status as well as other issues that they have brought to my attention. Then we will make plans on how to work towards new goals and overcome their specific obstacles.

How are you putting what you have learned in the classroom to use in your internship?

The social work department does an excellent job of preparing students for real life experiences. Each social work professor uses the classroom as an opportunity to provide us with all the knowledge we will need in real life scenarios. I felt very prepared for my internship experience due to my courses in social systems and individuals and families, case management analysis, discussing different approaches to cases during class time.

What is the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn or experience through your internship?

I was surprised how much my students would confide in me. I was worried that as an intern I would be doing busy work; but at YouthBuild I am genuinely immersed into the environment and am a part of the staff. By building relationships with the students, they confide in me as their social worker; and I am able to make an impact on their experience by listening to the obstacles that they feel hold them back from succeeding and helping to work through them.

What are your future goals or aspirations? How has your internship influenced your goals?

Next year I am continuing my education by getting my master’s in social work. I was recently accepted into the master’s program at Columbia University’s School of Social Work to start in the fall of this year! In graduate school for social work I will have required field hours, just like undergrad, for internship experience and real life client work. I am very excited to pursue graduate school where I’ll be the first in my family to do so! I feel very fortunate to be in the position where I am so passionate about what I do and am eager to continue my education. I never imagined working in a school setting but after working at YouthBuild my perspective has changed. I now consider working in a school setting doing social work along with my dreams of opening a private practice one day as part of my future goals.

What is your dream job?

There are so many things that I want to do with social work. I am passionate about my role as a social worker and know that I could see myself in various jobs.  My dream job is to run my own private practice and/or a nonprofit. I am very passionate about serving the community of women affected by sexual assault and hope to continue to change the narrative with my role as a social worker.

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