From prisons to the White House, our students and alumni are making headway in the drive to make the world a more just place. In the rapidly changing social work field, where innovation is essential and nimble thinking a must, these members of the BC community are on the cutting edge.
‘SERVING 25 TO LIFE’ AS SAN QUENTIN PRISON CHAPLAIN
George Williams, SJ, MSW ’97, is lucky enough to have found his dream job. His day-to-day, though, might not exactly correspond with the average person’s, or even the average social worker’s, vision of the sublime. Williams spends his days counseling some of the 700 hardened men on California’s Death Row, a place he calls “the darkest place I’ve worked,” and going cell to cell to visit with many of the 4,000 men in the general prison population, many of whom are convicted of violent crimes, such as murder, rape, or armed robbery. As a Jesuit priest, Williams also offers religious services for the men on Death Row. Read more on our blog.
ALUMNA SHAPES POLICY AT WHITE HOUSE
2014 PhD graduate Patricia Yu was selected to be a Health and Aging Policy Fellow, a competitive fellowship for health professionals working to make a positive contribution to policies that affect older adults. Her placement was at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, a once-per-decade conference designed to “assist the public and private sectors to be responsive to the needs of a diverse aging population and to promote the dignity and independence of . . . . future generations of older persons and their families.” Yu’s responsibilities included writing briefs and finding ways to disseminate policy ideas. Read more.
BCSSW STUDENT NAMED HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL RAPPAPORT FELLOW
Alexandra Rabasco became the first BC Social Work student to win a prestigious Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellowship. The award provided a 10-week summer internship working directly with Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. Read more.
GLOBAL FIELD ED PLACEMENT: GUATEMALA
Kelsey Komich, a recent MSW Global Practice graduate, spent her field education placement at Safe Passage/Camino Seguro, an NGO in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Safe Passage serves the impoverished community that surrounds the city’s garbage dump. Creamos (which means both “let’s create” and “we believe” in Spanish) is a social entrepreneurship association within Safe Passage that works with women from the community to build opportunity through shared business endeavors. Read more.
STUDENTS REACH FINALS OF CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE COMPETITION
The next generation of social workers will need to be able to think differently about how to solve the world’s problems. Many will work to build sustainable social innovations that enhance social justice, precisely the mission of the Boston College School of Social Work’s Center for Social Innovation. Virtually all will find themselves in collaborative environments, working hand in hand with like-minded professionals from all sorts of backgrounds, who are dedicated to having an impact across a multitude of fields.
Last March, a trio of BC School of Social Work MSW students showed that they’re already innovating, and flexing enough collective muscle to be recognized by two of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to social innovation: the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Hult Prize Foundation. Dana Loatman, Greg Cassoli, and Stephanie Brueck, along with colleagues from the Lynch School of Education and the Carroll School of Management, were named regional finalists in the annual Hult Prize Foundation $1 Million Social Enterprise Competition. This was a prestigious commendation; out of 20,000 entrants worldwide, only 300 made the regionals. Read more.