S. Davis (MSW 2022)

Looking Ahead
S. Davis MSW 2022

“I see people as a holistic entity rather than a snapshot in time,” says S. Davis, 2022 graduate of the online UNH Master of Social Work (MSW) program.

Originally planning to become a teacher of history, a required introductory course in social work opened her awareness of a field that aligned perfectly with her own affinities. After completing a bachelor's degree in history at Azusa Pacific University in California, she pivoted to this new path by accepting a position as on-site manager of a maternity shelter in Los Angeles. Charged with providing a safe place for pregnant women without a home, Davis was thrust with minimal training into an intense, formative experience that shaped her professional outlook and fueled a determination to continue to grow within the field.

"I enjoy working with people across the life span on an individual level. Having experienced an 'unpredictable upbringing', I use my past experience to connect with others grappling with trauma and establish a rapport based on trust."

Driven by a steady determination to help others through tough times, Davis has also worked at a domestic violence shelter, a drug and alcohol center, and an HIV clinic. Her most recent position involved speaking with callers on the crisis hotline for the Travis County Mental Health Center in Austin, Texas.

Eyes focused on the next stage of her journey, with a new job as a school therapist Davis will begin to earn the 3000 hours (about three years) of counseling experience necessary to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Texas. Her long-term vision, however, is to combine social work with outdoor adventure therapy and provide affordable access to families in crisis.

"My strongest interest is in providing minority communities with opportunities for a safe, predictable environment where they can rebuild pathways to a place of healing. The combination of outdoor adventure activity with therapeutic exercises makes this possible."

Committed to the multi-faceted field of social work, Davis enrolled in the online MSW program at UNH. The flexibility of distance education allowed her to pursue this goal during the pandemic and to complete a degree while working full-time. Part of her program experience was an elective course with a trip to Ireland, offering the dual benefit of seeing social work from a new perspective and exploring a foreign country. Davis enjoyed learning and developing new skills but the greatest gain emerged from the birth of new friendships with her classmates.

"Our cohort quickly formed into a group that provided encouragement, exchanged ideas and kept each other on track. These relationships played a key role in helping me successfully balance my job, academic commitments and personal life. I cherish this new group of friends and I am excited to see the various paths they chose to pursue."

Given the social worker’s well-developed skills in communication, organization and facilitation, Davis believes they should be included in policymaking across all government services. Her voice warms with enthusiasm as she talks about the need to advocate for funding and access because “social workers see the world from a humanistic level.”

Using outdoor activities to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life, Davis enjoys hiking in Big Bend National Park and decided to sell her car in favor of using her bicycle for transportation. By embracing mind-body unity to move past old trauma into a life of strong goals and cherished dreams, Davis inspires others to find their own path.

                                                                                                            Written by Gwendolyn Goguelet