Importance of Professional Development

Hi everyone!

I wanted to share with you all about my experience attending the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in Tampa, Florida in October. This event was my first professional development event as a social work student. From this conference, I developed the desire to attend social work conferences annually, to continue developing myself as a social worker and to be a life long learner. The conference was a great experience for me! Since most people were social workers, networking didn’t seem as daunting and it was quite easy speaking with Deans, Professors, and other professional social workers and students. I really enjoyed myself at this conference and I encourage you to attend one in the future. Next year it will be in Denver, so bundle up!

This conference really gave me clarity with my quest of obtaining a doctoral degree. At the conference, they had an Exhibit hall where a little over 100 universities had representatives there to share about their programs. I was able to speak to every program that was on my list of schools to apply to. I was strongly encouraged to work for at least two years– post MSW, to be most competitive, not only for entrance into a doctoral program, but for future employment opportunities. This clarity was much needed and has lessened my stress level this semester! If you’re in school currently and applying for another program, you can relate! Whew! A LOT of work!

Aside from those things, the conference offered hundreds of presentations, poster sessions, paper sessions, and workshops you could choose to attend! Almost any topic that you could possibly be interested in, within the field of social work, were covered! These sessions were great and very interactive! I tended to migrate toward the career development sessions mostly and learned great things about writing research statements, teaching statements, resume and CV writing, and tips on the job search.

Below you will find a few pics from my trip!


1. Flying into Tampa was extremely beautiful! Breathtaking view!

Award Recipients

2. I was selected as the only MSW student in the country to receive a Travel Award to attend the conference. All of my conference expenses were paid for! The scholarship opens every August, I encourage you to apply next year! Check out the page here:


3. The Tampa Aquarium was soooooo cool! I loved all the beautiful sea creatures!


4. The Tampa weather. O.M.G. It was October but felt like NC does in June/July! It was perfectttt!


5. If you’re in Tampa and love fresh, authentic, Mexican food. Go there. No other comments.


6. Perfect ending to a great conference! Pictured here you see Kayla Humphrey, Capricia Davis, and myself relaxing at the beach!

From this post, I hope you’re encouraged to attend a Social Work conference in the future!


About Monique Smith

Hi all! I am a final year MSW student! Concentration: Community, Management and Policy Practice Hometown: Erwin, NC Areas of Interest: Education policy, College Access, Rural Communities, Adolescents Field Placement: Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Interesting Fact: I published my first devotional book entitled “Progression: Being Perfected” in May 2014 and it is available on! Reach out to me with questions about field placements, class schedules, workload, and anything else you may have in mind!
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