Field education provides an intensive learning environment in community settings for bachelor’s and master’s level students. In their field placements, students learn alongside veteran social workers and administrators, and experience their classroom instruction in action for others. These are some of the field sites where our students have been recently placed:
In an effort to bring social workers to the forefront of solving housing instability, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work has partnered with Main Street Renewal, a for-profit property management company, to create an eviction-prevention program. Social work students intern in the CARES (Client Assessment Resources Empowerment Services) team, which communicates daily with MSR’s evictions and collections team to advocate for residents who are delinquent in rent or anticipate having difficulty paying for it. By conducting phone-based needs assessments, the team is able to gather and organize resources to aid MSR residents.
Through his internship with the Texas Athletics Behavioral Health department, social work student Todd Smith is developing programs to help student athletes on the Forty Acres.
Master’s student Jaynna Sims is helping break the school to prison pipeline through through her social work internship with the Excellence and Advancement Foundation. During her internship, Sims worked on the foundation’s prevention programs: she coordinated a film screening and discussion panel about community reentry of incarcerated populations, attended community meetings of a youth justice work group, and attended the weekly gatherings of one of the foundation’s programs, the Black Leadership Academy.
Through their field placement with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, social work students Dana Larson and Shira Hecht are the primary point of contact for veterans and their spouses participating in Mastering Your Marriage, a six-month marriage enrichment program. The program launched in fall of 2017 as partnership between the foundation and the Steve Hicks School of Social Work.
For social work senior Gwen Leonares, learning Arabic was a key part of becoming culturally competent to work with refugees. She is putting her Arabic skills to work at her field placement in Refugee Services of Texas, where she interacts with refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria.
During her Spanish field immersion placement at YWCA Greater Austin, social work student Ana Hernandez conducted group counseling sessions in Spanish and individual sessions with refugee women from Central America who are detained at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor. Read the story.
Through her internship at Shalom Austin-Jewish Family Service, social work student Ellen Line visits older adult clients in their homes. But she treasures the few hours she can steal away every month to freely chat with them about their past for an oral history project.
Social work senior Sarahi Rojo was an Archer Fellow in Washington, D.C. in Fall 2016. Archer Fellows intern full-time in the nation’s capital with an organization that aligns with their professional and academic interests. Rojo interned with the Washington Office on Latin America, or WOLA, a nonprofit that does advocacy for human rights in Latin America.
Back in Austin in Spring 2017, she did her internship in the employment and legal services department of the Workers Defense Project.
Leah Mesches grew up attending summer camp and knew she wanted to create social change by bringing the camp experience to underserved communities. As part of her final social work internship at Camp Champions, one of the oldest summer camps in Texas, Mesches set up the Champions Education Foundation, which exponentially expanded scholarship funds for campers in need of financial help.
At their internship at Refugee Services of Texas, social work students Maya Williams and Kathy Lee help refugees from Central America who fled their homes for fear of violence or persecution. The agency offers refugees free job training, counseling, legal and medical services, and English-language classes.
Students from Austin’s Akins High School joined the #StopTheStigma social media campaign to raise awareness about mental health needs in children and youth. Akins students participated in this “Twitter Storm” with the encouragement and gentle nudging of Emily Hammer, a social work master’s student who is doing her field internship at the high school. Read the story.
Social work student Erica Brown provides needed expertise for legal teams and advocates at the on UT Austin School of Law’s Children’s Rights Clinic. The clinic’s law students represent children in Travis County District Court as student attorneys ad litem in cases in which the state seeks custody or termination of parental rights based on allegations of abuse and neglect.
Social work students in the GRACE program do their fieldwork in agencies that make a positive impact in the lives of older adults. Delilah Dominguez led a group of older adults with varying levels of memory loss at Age of Central Texas. Wendy Whipple did her internship at H.A.N.D, an Austin agency that offers personal care attendant services. Whipple provided support and resources to H.A.N.D. employees, personal care assistants that in many cases work with older adults.
Social work student Grace Weiss discovered what her dream job looked like while doing her final field internship at Spirit Reins, a nonprofit ranch with the mission of transforming the lives of children and families through trauma-informed therapy services.
Master’s students learn to work alongside with doctors and nurses in field settings such as People’s Community Clinic, CommUnity Care Health Centers and the Integrated Behavioral Health Clinics of Austin Travis County Integral Care.
Social work students get a 24/7 final field experience at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, a modern community of boys and girls from pre-school through high school who live in group homes with house parents and a supportive community.
In spring 2013, social work students completed more than 540 hours of field work in Veterans Administration (VA) facilities in Austin, Killeen, and San Antonio in Texas; Madison in Wisconsin; and at a medical facility in Germany.
From India to South Africa and Costa Rica, international field placements give social work students the opportunity to be fully immersed in a different culture and learn how to navigate systems that are sometimes radically different to those at home.