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Student Member Spotlight!

Introducing Katelyn Rhine!

Katelyn is SSWAA’s outgoing student Board of Directors member for 2018. Katelyn is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with her master’s degree in Social Work. During her undergraduate education, Katelyn worked with Guardian ad Litem, Fayetteville, N.C., filing the role of Guardian ad Litem. It was in this role that she developed a passion and calling for School Social Work. Katelyn chose Social Work over Pedagogy and began the path to become a School Social Worker, by accepting an internship within the school system. Here is a little bit about Katelyn's journey.

What led you to School Social Work?

I first heard about school social work when I was a Guardian ad Litem during my last year in undergrad. When I was first looking for a college major, I was having a difficult time deciding between teaching and social work. I have always loved working with children and adolescents and wanted the career I chose to have a lasting impact on this population. Ultimately, I chose social work. Once I found out about school social work, I thought that the perfect career had been made just for me. Therefore, during my master’s program, I decided to choose an internship in the school system, and I have truly found my calling within social work.

SSWAA's Mission

The School Social Work Association of America empowers school social workers and promotes the profession of school social work to enhance the social and emotional growth and academic outcomes of all students.

What do you think makes the SSWAA mission statement meaningful?

I think the statement to enhance the social and emotional growth and academic outcomes of all students is what is most meaningful in the SSWAA mission statement. I think it is extremely important that all children are given the opportunity to succeed in the educational setting and it is important for school social workers to help their students with that growth. If a child is struggling socially or emotionally, then their academics will also struggle.

What is one of the reasons you joined SSWAA? What did you hope to get out of membership?

I joined SSWAA to not only learn more about the profession of school social work but to also meet others who share the same passion as I do. I hoped that I would be able to gain valuable information and make connections with individuals who had careers in what I aspired to become. I was honored to be the SSWAA MSW Student Board Member this past term and I was able to learn a lot about school social work and about SSWAA. I look forward to the upcoming conferences to learn more insightful information and to stay connected with the SSWAA family.

What do you feel you can contribute to the profession and/or to SSWAA?

I feel that I can bring my compassion and determination to both the profession and to SSWAA. I think that every individual should be treated with compassion because we never know what someone else is going through. I also become very determined to provide assistance where I am needed and wanted.

What are your career goals?

My career goal is to be a school social worker, however, right now I am unable to do that. So, my short-term goals are to find a career within the county that I am currently living in and gain valuable experience and then complete the requirements to become a school social worker.

If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?

This is a difficult question. Right now, I would love to rid the world of student debt because I just finished school and have that burden. However, the social worker in me would love to rid the world of stigma. One thing I learned this past year in my internship is that it is difficult to compete against the stigma that individuals have against social work and against learning and developmental disabilities. I think if we could rid the world of the stigma against this profession and against disabilities then we would be able to help many more students in the educational system.

Knowing that school is demanding, what do you like to do for fun?

One thing that I do for fun is read. I read something that has nothing to do with my life or anything with the world today. This helps me escape for the time being and relax. I also try to go get lunch or dinner with my friends at least once a month to get our minds off of all the assignments that are due and just have fun for a few hours.

After successfully completing The Virginia Pupils’ Personnel Services License, which is required to practice school Social Work in Virginia, Katelyn will go on to join the ranks of school Social Workers in the State of Virginia. SSWAA would like to thank and commend Katelyn on her work with SSWAA as the Student Rep to the SSWAA Board, Student Engagement Committee member and her service towards the profession of School Social Work.

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