By Caterina Marzella, MSW student program assistant
This summer, the Office of Academic and Student Affairs at the UNC School of Social Work welcomed several diverse groups of high school and college students interested in learning more about social work.
Beginning in May, the School participated in Project Uplift’s college fairs for historically under-served rising high school seniors. Project Uplift gives about 1,000 high school students from around the state the chance to learn more about the UNC undergraduate experience and to consider academic and professional goals. The college fairs are organized by UNC’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
The School of Social Work also hosted three different student groups over the last several weeks, including undergraduate students participating in the Carolina Higher Education Opportunity Programs’ Science Enrichment Preparation Program (S.E.P.). S.E.P. targets first generation, underrepresented, and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged undergraduate students from across the state. Invited students attend an eight-week honors-level academic enrichment program on UNC’s campus. This year, Lisa Zerden, clinical associate professor and principal investigator and program director for UNC-PrimeCare, spoke to students about the intersection of health and holistic care and about the important role social workers play in medical settings.
On June 9th, the Fayetteville State and UNC-Chapel Hill McNair Scholars Programs met for their summer collaborative program on the UNC campus. Part of this year’s program included a panel discussion that focused on graduate school admissions, developing a competitive application package, maintaining a work/life balance, and managing campus culture as an under-represented racial minority on a majority campus. In addition, a smaller group of students were given the opportunity to meet with several School of Social Work and Gillings School of Global Public Health faculty and staff members to discuss their interests in social work and public health.
Last, the School hosted nine high school students from across the state for the annual Social Work Instruction for the Next Generation (SWING) program. This year, students explored the many challenges of homelessness and learned about the role social workers play in alleviating poverty. Students toured the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service in Carrboro, discussed Orange County’s policies on ending homelessness with Corey Root, coordinator of Orange County Homeless Programs, and learned about youth homelessness through a viewing of the documentary “Homestretch.”