Meet Alison Rataj, Social Work Graduate Student
Graduation Year: 2014
I enrolled in the Social Work program for many reasons, but the deciding factor was my innate need and personal connection to helping others. While completing an undergraduate internship, I saw the pain and misery of some of the most vulnerable, voiceless individuals in our society. I want to address these social injustices to create a more equal society for everyone.
There are so many great aspects to this program, but first and foremost, the faculty are outstanding. Every professor brings his or her expertise to the classroom everyday offering personal examples to illustrate theory and knowledge. Furthermore, the educational process that many of the professors engage in is discussion and skill based experiences, which has greatly helped in honing in on my own knowledge. Lastly, the Social Work department is innately welcoming and I quickly felt that I finally had a profession to call home.
This year I had the unique opportunity to intern at the Center on Aging and Community Living (CACL). CACL is a collaboration between the Institute for Health Policy and Practice (IHPP) and the Institute on Disability (IOD) at UNH. CACL endorses person-centered options for living and aging in our community. As an intern at CACL, I have had the opportunity to help write evaluation reports, attend legislative hearings and meetings, research and present findings of evidence based best practices, and assist with implementing new projects. CACL has allowed me to explore the possibilities of macro social work practice in a safe, supportive environment, which has led to my development as a professional social worker. My supervisors at CACL are phenomenal. They have maintained the perfect balance between allowing me independence to concentrate on specific areas that interest me, yet still guide me towards the skills I need to learn. CACL staff took me under their wing and have grown not only as a macro practice social worker, but also as a person, and for this I cannot thank them enough.
I am currently applying to UNH School of Law Rudman Fellows Program, which focuses on the development of interest and skill in public policy. For a career, I want to focus on advocating for the most vulnerable populations by protecting and promoting equal access to justice through policy.
Nestled in the quaint little town of Durham, UNH marries paramount academics and stellar faculty with endless opportunities to grow in self-discovery and to become a responsible, educated citizen. UNH allows you to discover your passions and build your knowledge and skills. It is your chance to become a leader and a critical thinker.