Why Social Work?
Here are some quotes from our students, alumni and community leaders about why they chose a career in social work.
Barbara Kutzko, MSW
"I chose to pursue an MSW because I knew that the training I would receive would allow me an opportunity to work with a group of professionals who were committed to social justice, as well as enhance the wellbeing and quality of life of individuals who were impacted by social disadvantages. The training that I received provided me with a knowledge base that carried over, not only throughout my professional career, but also in navigating life experiences as well, over the years."
Ilima Young-Dunn, LMSW
“Because I want to know that the work that I do is having an impact on people’s lives. I don’t have to wonder if my efforts have made a difference. I get to see them every day in the lives of the people that I work with.”
Sharaine Conner, MSW, CADC
"The social work profession gives me the opportunity to work in a variety of settings and work towards multidimensional collaborative change. By working in this field I am able to empower, advocate, motivate, connect, and encourage resilience. To challenge stereotypes and avoid fallacies. As well as fight discrimination, oppression and injustice, no matter the form. In this field, I get to be a voice for all who cannot advocate for themselves. Making this world a better place one person at a time, is worth it."
Zanie Thomas-Peckumn, MSW student
“I chose social work because I have a passion for working with and helping others. I grew up in a home with generous and loving parents, but as I got older, I realized not everyone was as lucky to have such an experience. I want to provide that for children, families and adults. I want to have a positive impact on someone who needs help and I want to be the one who give them that help.”
Rochean Cofield, MSW student
"I understand struggle and all that it takes to keep your head up when all you want to do is waddle in your own sorrow. Newsflash – it is okay to feel sad so long as your sadness does not keep you from ever experiencing joy... I like to say, “How will you ever appreciate the sunshine, if you cannot stand the rain.”
Sheri Floyd, MSW
"Pursuing a social work degree came naturally for me. After years of employment and life experience, I found myself in the victim service field. I was thriving and wanting more. An unbelievable opportunity came to me by way of DMACC and the Career Opportunity Program. I was a non-traditional student, single mom with three small children, working a full time job. We all did our homework at the dining room table!"
Rhonda McInroy, LMHC, LMSW
“I am in Social Work because the profession gives me the opportunity to help people from all walks of life in a multitude of settings. Social work teaches me to respect the vulnerability, the relationship, the person's right to choose, their suffering, the resources, and the responsibility we have in providing quality care.”
Mary Perdomo, LMSW
"Because I am able to work with clients individually and yet again impact changes on the legislature and policy that may affect their services. It feels like the full circle, a holistic approach to individuals' needs"
Connie Mettlin, ACSW, LISW
“Because I had a rough childhood, and wanted to assist children so they wouldn't have to go through the pain and anguish I had to go through by myself.”
Shelby Wuebker, LMSW
“Social work seemed like the best career path for me for many reasons. Growing up with a sister who has autism gave me a different perspective on the world. I always knew I wanted to go into a field where I could help others and build upon the knowledge and experience I gained within my own household.”
Jackie Watkins, MSW student
"My ultimate dream is to cultivate awareness of social justice issues by continuing to equip and empower the vulnerable and underrepresented populations of our society. Whether it was my personal challenges growing up Black in a predominantly white society, struggling with a biased educational system, providing encouragement to women, or working with people who face barriers to independence, every phase of my life reflects my advocacy for those who have been marginalized by mainstream culture."
Jennifer Becker, LISW
"Choose a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius
"A career in social work is a gift in that you are allowed into the intimate life’s of wonderful people in your efforts to assist them in their journey of recovery, where victims become survivors, and systems bend to meet the needs of the most vulnerable individuals in our society".
Frederick Newell, BASW
"I never really intended to become a social worker, but Sara Sanders insisted I stick it out. Now as Executive Director of The Dream Center, in Iowa City, I work to strengthen families, change lives and restore hope through advocacy, empowerment and education. We are about building relationships, one at a time."
Kelli Soyer, LMSW
“Simply to help others.”
LaTasha DeLoach, LMSW
"Because the possibilities of what you can do with a social work degree is only as limited according to the frame you allow others to build for you. Break the frame. Studying Social Work at the UI allows you the opportunity for flexibility and faculty and staff that want to see you succeed in and out of the classroom. "
Tamra Jurgemeyer, LISW
"I chose Social Work because I have always believed in fighting for human rights. I believe our profession can change the world on so many levels: for each person we have the opportunity to serve, for entire family systems, and the communities where we live. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of a profession that reaches out to our most vulnerable populations and strives to make a difference in so many lives."
Amanda McCurley, LMSW
“I wanted a profession where I am able to help empower individuals and families to find solutions, advance changes in social policy, promote social justice, and pull communities together in a way that fosters both human and global well-being. To truly make a difference and to be the change I want to see in the world, I must embrace it with my career. That is why I choose to be a Social Worker.”
Marti Anderson, LISW
“High School graduation was in 1969, and I was immersed in progress and social change. I went to college to be a sociology teacher, but, I discovered Social Work, where we learn to make a difference for people, systems, and communities. Social Work ethics and values appealed to my life principles of fairness, justice, and social change. Social Work is a profession that moves me to be a social change agent.”
Landi Smith, LISW
“I was bound to spend my life in the helping professions and when I discovered that Social Work and I shared the same values of social justice, integrity, dignity and worth of all people, and service, it was love at first sight! I love being part of a community with these ethical principles and with the shared perspective of person-in-environment. We’re all interconnected and also a product of our environments.”
Jeanie McCarville Kerber, MPA, LISW, CADC
“Felt it was a natural calling for me. Social work is applicable in all areas; including business, policy, and education.”
Elizabeth Speech, BASW
"I chose social work because the principles and code of ethics are directly in line with my world view. The principles of self determination, cultural competency, social justice, and advocacy describe my own values. Social work gives me a way to put these values into practice and allows me to have a job that I truly believe in. As social workers we believe that we should be the change, big or small, and have the privilege of working towards this every day."
Chris Ogle, MSW Student
“I chose Social Work due to the field's core values being the same as my own. I have a true passion to provide excellent therapy and feel very fortunate to witness my clients' growth and new healthy beginnings.”
Yvonne Farley, LISW
“I always felt I wanted to make the world a better place. I saw suffering and I longed to help. I found my niche working as a counselor with individuals, couples and families. I have had a wonderful career in Social Work, first as a therapist and then as a teacher. I could not have asked for a better career!”
Katie Kamienski, BSW
“For me Social Work was in my blood, as my mom worked in the field so this type of work was what I ‘saw” growing up. I chose and continue to work in social work because it’s a small way for me to have an impact, one child/family at a time.”
Sara Stiles, LMSW, CADC
“I knew that I always wanted to help other people, but I really did not intend for it to be in a social work capacity. I chose social work because people matter, and relationships matter. Social work and what I do gives me the opportunity to help people heal through relationships.”
Alyssa Caldbeck, LMSW
“Social Workers empower people to help themselves. This can mean providing direct services or working for change to improve social systems at the macro level. The social work profession offers so many different career options and social workers are respected in multi-disciplinary teams/settings.”
Dionnna Langford, BASW
"Because social workers are in the business of people. Our world needs more professionals who view people not just as another worker or number, but as holistic people with a variety of motivators, worldviews, and needs. Social Work is a field for people who love empowering others whether it be on an individual basis or through a global impact!"
Jerica Ballard, LMSW
“I chose social work because human nature and our capacity for resiliency is a fascinating component of life to study, to observe, and to interact with. It speaks volumes about the human spirit, which ultimately serves as the cornerstone of any solution. My hope was to help those in need find that cornerstone and encourage its growth.”
Makaela Pratt, LISW
“I chose social work because I wanted to help people. I hoped that I could somehow pay it forward and help people heal and move past whatever issues/trauma that held them back. So they could see that there is life after and it can be wonderful and messy at the same time. And that is ok.”
Kimberlee Gregory, MSW
“Everyone deserves to be respected and to be heard. In social work I believe I can be an advocate and a voice for the quiet voices among us.”
Sheila Aukes, LMSW
“Being a change agent. Having the ability to make a change in individuals’ lives and also in policy.”
Lagi Roberts, MSW Student
“Social workers are the front line gladiators in a never ending battle we call, life. Social workers help piece the puzzle of life back together for any individual or community in need. Why social work you ask? I choose social work because I care for humanity and the fair and just well-being of our society’s human beings.”
Lindsey Redd, LMSW
“I chose social work because I was interested in the brain and psychology. As I learned more about this I became interested in helping others who struggle in some way psychologically or with mental illness.”
Anna Schappaugh, LMSW
"I think it's a fulfilling, worthwhile way to spend your time and life. Your job works as a channel for passion and helping others, every day."
Stacey Warren, LISW
"Social workers are the trusted professionals who can support, guide and assist individuals, families and communities during times of need. Social Work is a passion, a drive to help others and to make a positive lasting impact on the well being of others."
Sandra McGee, PhD, LMSW
"Service, service, service! Social work privileges me to serve humanity with humility, dignity, and respect!"
Lora Rogerson, LMSW
"Social work is a profession that allows you to practice both on a micro and macro level simultaneously. I enjoy working directly with children and families in their schools and homes while being able to work on child welfare practices and broader system issues that impact families across my community."
Katie Ries, LMSW
"The field of social work opens up opportunities to help people in many different facets and populations: education, medical, policy, corrections, end of life, children, geriatrics, etc. The University of Iowa’s School of Social Work has a dedicated staff with a wide range of specialties and experiences, who are committed to preparing you for this field regardless of which route or population you decide to pursue."
Craig Mosher, PhD, MSW
"Social work is a powerful tool for assisting individuals, families, organizations, communities, and societies to change. We employ systems theory to understand the complexity of issues, the many causes of problems, and, therefore, the multiple solutions that are possible. And since everything is interconnected, any action taken at one point in the system will have ripple effects throughout the system, creating change in the entire system."