Want to talk to a student about their experience? Contact one of our School of Social Work Student Organization (SSW-SO) Representatives. They would love to hear from you!

Sarah Kelley (she/her/hers)

President of SSWO

Expected Year of Grad: 2023

Field Placement: Dempsey Center, Lewiston, ME – Oncology Navigator clinical support

What areas of social work interest you most? I’m interested in all of it.  The clinical aspects of therapeutic practice are just as interesting to me as macro social justice work.  I really enjoyed the creative arts class as a foundational approach to seeing that art and creativity can be brought into so much of social work.   I’m excited to work in a focused area of oncology social work, I have liked aspects of private practice and I have also recently enjoyed working in the schools.  I can see how joining this profession at this moment in time will provide plenty of opportunities to meet the mental health needs of our communities.

What do you want to do with your MSW?  Social work is a career pivot for me, but I can now see my problem-solving and relationship skills as a good fit for this career.  I know I will want to work with a team of professionals, so a group practice, specialized service non-profit, or school setting could be a great fit for me.  I have surprised myself in my first year enjoying macro social work and local/state politics so that could also be a path I walk eventually.

What advice would you give to incoming students?  Dial-in your learning style and don’t stress about getting all of the reading done.  Reach out to your professors and classmates with questions – if you are confused, you aren’t the only one. I learn so much from classes and classmates.  Graduate school can be really enhanced by putting energy into relationships and events at the University – there is always so much going on.  Attend a SSWO event!

What’s your fave part about living/studying in Maine? I really enjoy having seasons with distinct activities – skiing in the winter and sailing/gardening in the summer.  Raising kids here is very lovely.  We live in a community where they are outside every day enjoying the natural world and I don’t have to facilitate a lot of exploration, it just happens by way of living with such unique quality of place.

Sarah Benesi

Vice President of SSWSO

Jonathan Phillips

Treasurer of SSWO

Devon Tomasi

Graduate and Professional Student Affairs (GAPSA) Senator