Message for the Class of 2020

Congratulations, Class of 2020! YOU DID IT!

As you take your next steps in your path as social workers, we’d like to take a moment to applaud you for your hard work, perseverance, and commitment, especially during these last few months.

Through it all, you demonstrated the ability to adapt to changing needs and circumstances, learn new ways of coping with disruption and loss, and prepare for the unknown—critical strengths that are needed as we seek to move forward in our new reality, and which make you, the next generation of social work leaders, invaluable to the larger community.

For those who have shared job updates with us, an additional congratulations to you! (If you recently landed a job opportunity, we would love to hear from you; email us at swcareer@columbia.edu.) Your successes provide encouragement and hope for many others embarking on the job search process.

For those who are actively seeking opportunities, please note that career support will remain available to you. You can continue to use your Career Connect account to schedule appointments and access resources.

Thank you, 2020 graduates, for allowing us to be part of your journey! We look forward to staying in touch with you as you continue this journey as alumni.

Warmly,

Tomomi and Rawlisha
Office of Career Services and Leadership Management

Career Support through the Summer

Although the semester will be coming to a close, the Office of Career Services and Leadership Management will remain open throughout the summer to support your career needs, with appointments remaining available Tuesdays through Thursdays. Take a look at our availability on Career Connect.

For those who are graduating and actively seeking full-time opportunities, we encourage you to see us soon. Please note that, as graduates, you will continue to have access to our services. Stay connected with us by joining our CSSW LinkedIn Group. You will also be receiving information from the Office of Alumni Relations for benefits extended to you as alumni.

Additional COVID-19 Resources from NASW

https://www.socialworkers.org/

Many local NASW Chapters are working to keep members updated on the COVID-19 outbreak and advocating for social workers within their states.

We encourage you to review their sites as well as the ASWB and individual Social Work Board sites for the latest information on regulatory provisions and efforts to support the profession.

Take a look at some of the resources shared by the New York State and New York City Chapter below:

Appointment Updates

We hope everyone is staying safe and well.

In an effort to ensure students seeking career support have access to our services, we are adding additional appointment slots to our calendar. We are also replacing drop-in hours with regular appointment slots for the time being.

All appointments are available via Zoom or by phone. You can request to meet by logging into Career Connect and clicking on Advising > General Advising > Add Appointment. For more detailed instructions on how to book an appointment, please review this tutorial. The site also contains an extensive virtual library of resources. We encourage you to take a look. For general questions, please email swcareer@columbia.edu.

For the latest developments and guidelines shared by the school and university in reference to COVID-19, please refer to the following sites:

Student Spotlight: Nancy Gershman ’20

Tell us about how your experience led you to your interests in dreamscaping and social work?

Social work has been my life’s calling, only I didn’t know it until I met Maureen, a social worker with three decades of experience in hospice and palliative care. It was while volunteering at a 25-bed hospice run by Visiting Nurse Service of NY that Maureen taught me how to take the temperature of the room to gauge whether a patient wants to share their emotional truth privately or within the family group.   

It was also in this New York City hospice where I did my first clinical work as a memory artist and bereavement volunteer. My work with hundreds of end-of-life patients and their families became the basis for my book, “Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss: The Art of Dreamscaping” (Routledge, 2019), co-authored with psychotherapist Barbara E. Thompson. 

What is dreamscaping?

Dreamscaping is a breakthrough intervention that is rooted in how the emotional brain encodes new memories.  Imagine one organizing principle—”bring me your favorite or good-enough memory” fulfilling an intention, wish, dream or longing. 

Here’s a story from the book to give you an idea:

Jane is a photographer, unable to work after the death of her mother, with whom she was very close. As I got Jane to focus on fun memories of Sylvia, she began to remember how much the two of them loved Christmas, despite being “atheist and Jewish.” During our exchange, I heard that rare bird of a memory that suddenly got Jane laughing. She recalled that as Sylvia lay dying in hospice on Christmas Day, she had this fleeting fantasy of Santa coming back for Sylvia so they could go off together on his sled. Before dreamscaping, Jane had never breathed a word of this to anyone, and yet here was a perfect example of a hidden resource that translated beautifully into a prescriptive memory, making it more available for use in coping with the loss of her mother. Later, when we constructed it as a tangible dreamscape, Jane was able to change her perception of a white marble sculpture by Sylvia (who was a sculptor) that seemed to be waving goodbye to one that was now waving hello. In Jane’s words, “…my feelings changed,” and dreamscaping “showed me you can make yourself believe different things.” (From Chapter 3, “Elicitation of Humor, Positive Emotion and Play in Dreamscaping.”)

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I wrote this book knowing there was a community of learners out there, a wide range of therapists, end of life practitioners, and even spiritual care counselors drawn to short-term, novel, strengths-based interventions. These included art therapists who longed to work more collaboratively with clients and clinicians who wished to investigate what happens when you invite a memory artist into the therapeutic dyad. 

My goal in pursuing my MSW in Advanced Clinical Practice at a prestigious university like Columbia University was to be able to teach and practice dreamscaping, globally, and on a deeper level.

It sounds like you’ve already made a significant impact in the field. In what ways has your experience here at CSSW impacted you?

In my first year of field at FDNY Counseling Service Unit, I was dropped into group work with firefighters and EMTs —journaling, anger management, relapse prevention. Some days there would be up to 20 men and women around the table. I had stage fright at first until I learned that the “group does the group’s work.” In the same way that social workers learn not to fix people, I learned how to let things roll, intervening only when I felt a pearl had dropped and not marking that moment would be a lost opportunity.

As someone who entered the program with prior professional experience, what insights or advice would you like to share with other students?

Success can mean many things, but for me it was the opportunity to be taken seriously by my peers who were credentialed and spoke the identical language of advanced clinical practice. And if you have to do your life backwards as I have—proposing a job description to a Director of Bereavement Services that no one had ever heard of (“memory artist”), getting bereavement volunteer training at that hospice before being assigned to a floor, authoring a book based on clinical experiences with end-of-life patients and their families on that floor, going to graduate school, and requesting field placement with a population I never worked with before—DO IT. You can never be too young or too old to venture into the brilliant unknown and test yourself.

Building Community through Candid Conversations

Yesterday, at our 2nd annual Communities of Color Networking Night, we had the pleasure of welcoming back alumni, both in person and online, to share their unique stories and perspectives on navigating their careers as professionals of color working in various roles and spaces.

Notable themes included the importance of being open and thoughtful about who you choose to connect with — recognizing that titles don’t always dictate the value others can offer — knowing what you want to learn and being proactive in the learning process, and using your natural ability as social workers to initiate and cultivate relationships.

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our alumni who spent their evening with us to share their insights and advice, to James Singletary ’10, Associate Director of Field Education, who led an engaging panel discussion on strategic networking, and to students who participated and helped make the evening a success!

We hope everyone enjoyed the opportunity to connect and felt empowered to continue developing their network.

For tips on how to build on the connections you made after an event, click here.

2019 Social Enterprise Conference | Friday, October 11

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2019

Columbia University
Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
8:00 AM–5:30 PM

Register Now for Early Bird Pricing*
Student Tickets $25 ($50 after August 31)
General Admission $100 ($175 after August 31)
*No code required.

KEYNOTES

Melissa Berman

President & CEO
of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc

Elizabeth Carlock-Phillips

Executive Director
of Phillips Philanthropies

Wes Moore

CEO
of Robin Hood

Deval Patrick

Managing Director
of Double Impact at Bain Capital

Mona Sinha ’93BUS

Chairwoman
of Women Moving Millions

SPEAKERS FROM

Access Circles | AeroFarms | ALTRD | AptDeco | Art for Justice Fund The Bell | Braemar Energy Ventures | Cavendish Impact Foundation | The CITY | Civil Media Company | change:WATER Labs | Columbia University | Documented | Dollaride | Earn.org | Folia Materials | GiveDirectly | Hearst Corporation | HELP USA | HERE to HERE | IDEO.org | Ilara Health | Nova Credit | NYU Furman Center | Plum Alley Investments | Propel | Report for America | Rilbite | Saving 9 | The Spare Food Co. Streeshares Teens Take Charge

PROGRAM →

Located in the finance capital of the world, this industry-leading event provides a unique opportunity to tap into the vibrant ecosystem of capital for impact through the lens of philanthropy, impact investing, ESG, and social venture and business examples. Social impact leaders in business, government, nonprofit, and philanthropy will speak to how they are changing the way we think about how capital is sourced and used to generate sustainable solutions to global, systemic challenges.

We will bring together industry leaders, investors, philanthropists, professionals, faculty, students, and alumni to share best practices and engender new ideas surrounding the intersection of capital and society. Speaker presentations will catalyze conversations of change and embolden a generation to take risks in order to create a world in which everyone, regardless of where they were born, has the equal opportunity to succeed in creating a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

TICKETS →

            

 

Job Search Tips for International Students

The job search process can be a challenge for any student, but particularly if you are an international graduate student seeking opportunities outside of academia. With restrictions outside your control, planning early and being strategic in the search process is imperative. Take a look at these tips from Inside Higher Ed to start.

Where ever you are in your career stage, keep in mind that the process begins with you — knowing what drives you, what you excel at, and what options you have. To further explore your skills, interests, and goals, make an appointment with us via Career Connect. To learn more about your employment options based on your status, meet with an advisor from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). ISSO also offers useful information on their site on employment as well as workshops throughout the year. Make sure to review their newsletters so you don’t miss their events!