The Journey Begins

“And suddenly you just know, it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings” – unknown

We look forward to much newness this autumn as leaves turn and the air becomes crisp.   It feels appropriate to open this post by acknowledging our new blog! We are transitioning from our UNE School of Social Work newsletter to a blog format where we will be posting  more frequently. We plan to post content of interest to all, students, faculty, staff, social workers, and anyone interested in learning more about what social work is and entails.  Please take some time to poke about our page, learn about our mission, vision, and values, who we are and what we stand for as a program. Most of all, enjoy!

We thought we’d open with words from our new cohort of UNE MSW students about why they chose UNE.

IMG_8439Caitlin Carey (left)

“I heard great things about the program from people who graduated from here!  I’m also really interested that there are so many different options – things you can do here especially with the certificate options (Trauma, Applied Arts and Social Justice, and Training in Aging and Diversity).   I definitely want to do the Trauma informed certificate and I’m thinking about the TRIAD but I haven’t made a decision quite yet.”

Amanda Porter (right)

“Similarly I heard so many great things about the program, and I’m really interested in the trauma informed care.   I would like to do school based counseling for a while and then possibly get into working for the VA or the department of defense.   My husband’s a vet. I’m thinking about getting into school based counseling at a military school, once my kids are no longer in school.”

IMG_8441Nick Schellenberger

“I heard nothing but phenomenal things about everyone who worked here.  When I applied I was still unsure about if I wanted to pursue social work..if I wanted to do UNE…if this was the right choice, but meeting all of you really affirmed that decision and I’m incredibly excited to work with you all and am  100% sure I made the right decision! The support I’ve received already- it’s more than just wanting us to graduate. You want us to reach our fullest potential and get out there into the community and really make a difference. I really feel that each and every one of you cares deeply about not only our well being, but our time here at UNE and beyond that.”   

Carly Woolard


“The way the program was marketed really spoke to my heart.  When I clicked on the website and I saw all these authentic smiles, holding up these wonderful signs, I knew this was where I needed to be.  I saw myself in it and that was super important. (Carly came to visit the UNE Portland, ME campus from her home town in NC  Spring 2018) There are a lot of great places to get an education in North Carolina,, but nothing compared.  When I came to the Open House here, everything was validated. Within 5 minutes of stepping foot on the campus I was immediately greeted so kindly by so many people.  It all was just further affirmation that I’d chosen the right place to come learn. I’m so eager…so grateful.”

Emily Strout IMG_8444

“When I applied to grad school I was looking all over.  I went to undergrad in Philly, moved back to Portland and was planning on leaving again to find somewhere new, but when I really began looking into programs and found UNE’s Trauma informed care certificate, I wasn’t seeing things like that in any of the other programs I was looking at and that, alongside the testimonies from the friends I have that came here changed my mind significantly to say stay here and pursue my MSW at UNE.”  

Casey Rogers 

IMG_8446“UNE definitely stuck out in that they offer the different tracks, Clinical, Community, and the different certificates.  I’m specifically interested in TRIAD (Training in Aging and Diversity and $10,000 Stipend) and the Trauma certificate. Also I’m really interested in the interprofessional piece.    That was a big pull for me. I think it’s really really important in health care, like Shelley (UNE’s School of Social Work director) was saying earlier, we need to reach across the aisle so to speak, to work more together, so that was a huge draw for me!”

Richard Lafrenaye 

IMG_8452“I was working at DHHS for adult protective services and learned about UNE’s agreement with the department where folks get a 30% tuition discount. [. . .]  I ultimately decided to come here based on the reputation though.  The reputation for the program here is glowing.   It’s just a high standard. Everyone that I’ve talked to about it, after having been accepted, they’re very excited for me.    I’m in the accelerated track doing integrated practice, and I’m excited about my internship at Martins Point where I’ll be doing some program development to support new dads and ultimately by supporting them families, moms and kids.”


Jennifer Paulus 


“I searched a variety of programs.  I was living in Cali and was visiting programs there as well.  After I came here though, during the snowstorm, I remember meeting you, and  then you introduced me to professors, and everyone was so friendly and welcoming.  They were all so excited and wanted to tell you about the program and research and I felt like they spoke to me as an equal and not just a student.  That was really influential for me.  And the interprofessional relationships.  As a program, you’re really thinking about what it actually means to be outside of the school and not just teaching inside the school.  You have your eye on the actual community and field, and that’s apparent immediately.  I know the tuition is a bit expensive, but it’s more enriching and more of a life experience to be here.”

Alyssa Sullivan 

IMG_8449“My biggest draw was the internships/field placements that were offered and you’re really thrown into it from the beginning.  Some programs wait a year, but here, it seems more of a real world internship, getting that experience right away.    I was in NY when my field planning happened and we did it over the phone.  I was super appreciative because they seemed to really assess.  It wasn’t just “where are we going to put people.”  They heard my interests and the experiences I’ve had post-undergrad and they found something that worked more in my interests and they asked about my long-term goals.  I appreciated getting something that would fit my long term goals and was a new experience but something that I could also handle.  It was more person centered.”

Kim Davis 

IMG_8450“I first learned about UNE from a psychologist who was at Tufts.  She told me that  from working in the community, she sees social workers from UNE…. it’s just a very different program,  a more rigorous program.  I wanted something more academically rigorous. I looked at other programs where you basically go in the summers and do your field placements back home which was appealing,  but why would I do that when UNE has such an interesting program? I’m particularly interested in Trauma as well.  But I’m also very interested in research for sure, bringing together studies from my other MA degree  and moving forward around some of the things I’ve mentioned before.”


Christopher O’Neil (left) A few things led me to apply.  UNE has the yellow ribbon program which tops off my GI bill, so as a veteran it’s a great deal for me, but also a social worker I worked with at a school last year is an  alumni of the program.  She works at Jr. High in Sanford, where I was working in Special Ed.  I just love her- She just has an answer to everything! 

Michelle Beers (right) I had been looking for MSW programs and I ran into one of your colleagues at a holiday event and he told me about the program.   I was really compelled after I started looking into it myself, by the TRIAD program and the emphasis on interprofessional education.  I think that’s really competitive and cutting edge in comparison to a lot of MSW programs. So I applied for those two reasons, yeah that’s really what drew me in.

Elisabeth Corrales 

IMG_8455I first learned about UNE when I moved to Maine to start Americorps.  I worked in a school called System Real School where I worked alongside two UNE MSW grad students doing their Field Placements there with the clinicians there.  They loved it.  They were always really happy with one another, the program, and had great things to say about the faculty!