As I scroll through this blog I am seeing an obvious theme – last first day of school. And yet, this is not my last first day. While I am thrilled for the members of my cohort who can see the light of graduation fast-approaching, I’m feeling like I still need to pace myself because I have a ways to go. As an MSW/MPH dual degree student, I’m looking at a full-time summer internship and one more first day of school before this graduate school adventure comes to a close. But just as I start to feel exhausted looking ahead, I remember that this year I am joining a new cohort in the School of Public Health, along with eight peers from my social work cohort.
When I was applying to graduate programs, I knew that a dual MSW/MPH program was a requirement for me. I felt that so many public health issues are based in social issues and that one without the other would leave me with questions. Now as I start in the School of Public Health I am thrilled for the year of social work education I carry with me. The social work perspective colors everything I read and everything I learn and I am so grateful for the opportunity for rich, nuanced, and colorful exchanges between the two fields here at UNC.
The well-established and thriving Social Work-Public Health partnership was most apparent to me in the School of Public Health orientation when I noticed that the Social Work students made up almost one quarter of the new Maternal and Child Health concentration cohort. In only the second week of classes for the semester, it is clear that there is a need for social workers in the public health sphere, and I am proud to be part of such a robust program.
My experience starting the MPH program feels reflective of most of my experiences with the School of Social Work thus far. There is immense support and energy within this school to create access for students to opportunities that excite them. The path may not always be easy – and I will be both proud and sad to see most of my social work cohort graduate this year – but I know that the Social Work school and community will continue to support my goals and interests.
Here is almost all of the awesome dual degree group during the School of Public Health Orientation. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about the dual degree program here at UNC!