Touro College Graduate School of Social Work Hosts “An Evening for New MSW Professionals”
Director of Communications
New York, N.Y. - “Making a difference” was the theme underlying the recent spring 2014 Touro College Graduate School of Social Work Community Day, where students, faculty and alumni gather as they do twice a year to meet and engage with one another and experts in the field of social work.
This year’s spring meeting, titled “An Evening for New MSW Professionals,” presented a unique opportunity for the community of the graduate school of social work to hear from top executives in social services on how to obtain and maintain their “dream” job.
Dr. Steven Huberman, founding dean of the graduate school, began the event with a brief and powerful discussion of current events tying them to social work values and ethics, followed by an inspiring introduction of the distinguished speakers as “role models and mentors in the social work field.”
Associate Dean Dr. Melissa Earle expanded on the purpose of the night’s theme by reading a meaningful and moving poem given to her by an alumnus of the school on “What a social worker makes.” With the audience held spellbound, Dr. Earle ended the poem with, “I make a difference—and so will all of you.”
Speaking from her personal experience, Tina Atherall, LMSW, executive vice president of Hope for the Warriors, a non-profit organization that addresses the needs of the military and veteran population and families, emphasized the importance of good mentoring.
“Find the best mentor you can,” Ms. Atherall told the assembled students, explaining how her mentor affected her growth as a student and allowed her to look beyond her original focus. Ms. Atherall also advised the audience to know in advance who their interviewers will be when applying for jobs, so they can be as prepared as possible.
“Simplification,” said First Deputy Eric Brettscheider, of the New York City Administration for Children Services, is the key to interviewing. “Choosing your words is critical,” he said, cautioning the students not to use fancy words, or overuse “buzz words” in order to build themselves up when speaking to an interviewer.
Amy Dorin, LCSW, senior vice president for behavioral and community health at F.E.G.S. Health and Human Services, opened her presentation dramatically by advising students, in order to secure an interview: “Get a license!” She explained that, in today’s world, the job market is increasingly focused on credentials. Additionally, Ms. Dorin said that it is important to be comfortable with technology because most agencies are using technology to keep track of records, analyze data, and other critical functions.
David Mandel, CEO of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services and chair of the school’s professional advisory board, said that when he conducts an interview, he wants to know the applicant as a person. He asks, “Tell me one mistake you made in your life and how you wished you could change it.” With this question, Dr. Mandel explained, he can tell more about the person than any other perfunctory interview questions that could be asked.
A question and answer period followed the presentations, where students and alumni were able to ask the members of the panel and faculty questions that resonated for them personally about obtaining and maintaining a social work position, obtain advice on their resumes, and begin to build their networks.