We sat down with Baylor MSW graduate, Natalie Szot, to answer the question, “what can you do with a social work degree.” Use Natalie’s journey to reflect on your own aspirations and what jobs you can find with an MSW.
Graduation year: May 2021
Hometown: Montgomery, Illinois
Undergraduate degree: B.S. Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
What made you decide to pursue a Master of Social Work (MSW)?
I pursued a master of social work because I knew it would expand on my undergraduate degree while also equipping me with a skill set that I can utilize to impact a person’s well-being in a variety of settings.
I wanted to become a social worker because throughout my life, I had several people in social work positions that were a buffer from the stressors I experienced which created opportunities for me to pursue my goals.
I describe the MSW program at Baylor as a hope-filled program due to the ethical integration of faith, commitment to social justice, caring professors, importance of human relationships and an individual’s inherent worth.
I also wanted a program where the internship placement took place simultaneously with courses so I could implement what I was learning in class the next day and not wait until the end of my graduate degree to have that experience.
What needs to be debunked about jobs with an MSW?
Before pursuing my MSW, I had a limited view of what social workers do. I knew the field was broad but didn’t quite grasp the endless career possibilities there are. While completing my degree I realized that social workers can literally do anything. That might be a bit of a stretch, but the skills a social worker has can be transferable to countless jobs.
What are you up to now?
I work at Baylor University as an Accommodation Specialist. I work with students who have a disability to provide accommodations and promote access. The skills I learned in the MSW program prepared me in my current work to support students in talking about taboo areas, display an understanding of what a student is experiencing, and to collaborate with other staff and faculty.
The professors in the MSW program teach you to think critically and utilize a client’s strength. I use those skills in my job when engaging with students and determining what barriers exist, what is a reasonable accommodation, and/or is there an equally effective accommodation. The MSW program at Baylor prepared me to work with all populations and tailor the skills learned to the role I am in.
What’s a day in the life look like for an Accommodation Specialist?
A typical day at work involves meeting with students who have applied for accommodations and completing their intake. The student and I discuss the barriers they face in class and what accommodations would reduce the barrier.
Outside of directly meeting with students, my day can vary greatly. I coordinate with other staff and faculty regarding the implementation of accommodations as well as provide education on disability related issues. Baylor has the responsibility under Federal law to ensure access to programs and activities for students with disabilities.
What makes your job in social work unique?
My job differs from traditional social work jobs in that my role specifically provides services and accommodations to students with disabilities that promote access. Even though I view each student holistically [as social workers do], I am not providing holistic care. I can refer the student to other academic or mental health resources on campus, but our conversations are centered around access related to their disability.
Having a holistic view helps me to fully understand the student’s situation and identify the specific barrier that needs to be addressed.
Advice to future MSW students?
There are always social workers needed. Social workers can be in so many roles that you will find a job that works for you! The MSW program at Baylor prepared me to work with all populations and tailor the skills I learned to the role I am in.
What will you do with an MSW? Find your own path with a Baylor MSW with our quiz or explore all that a Baylor MSW can offer.