We sat down with Baylor MSW graduate, Zeke Morgan, to answer the question, “what can you do with a social work degree.” Use Zeke’s journey to reflect on your own aspirations and what jobs you can find with an MSW.
Graduation year: 2018
Hometown: Keller, Texas
Undergraduate degree: B.S. Psychology, Abilene Christian University
What made you decide to pursue a Master of Social Work (MSW)?
In my last year of undergrad, I took a counseling class and realized that I didn’t want to do counseling as a career. I happened to be taking an Intro to Social Work class, mainly because I was told it was an easy elective with a really good professor.
That professor helped me realize that social work offered a lot of the aspects that drew me to psychology (namely that it is a helping profession with a focus on humanity and all of its messiness), with a wider scope of practice than counseling typically has.
I chose Baylor’s MSW program for two main reasons:
- My cousin had graduated from the MSW program and absolutely loved her time at Baylor.
- I was impressed that the school of social work chose to not be on Baylor’s main campus so that it could provide a more communal environment for its students. That leadership and vision showed me that the social work program wasn’t going to be a degree factory but was focused on shaping leaders and practitioners to be present in their communities.
What needs to be debunked about jobs with an MSW?
Social workers don’t like math, numbers, or money. I thought I was a bit of a black sheep in that regard only to get into the workforce and find that there are a lot of MSWs out there that are better with all three than I am.
It’s been special to see that Waco is getting to experience data-informed, fiscally conscious programming and funding in a way that many communities of our size are not.
What are you up to now?
I am currently the Population Health Manager at Waco Family Medicine. Population health is a fascinating field that draws from a wide variety of disciplines (clinical medicine, psychology, social work, epidemiology, economics, etc.) to target interventions for specific populations of vulnerable patients.
My time in the MSW program, and subsequently Baylor’s MBA program, taught me how to apply seemingly disparate fields to provide holistic care at the individual, organizational, and community levels.
What’s a day in the life look like for a Population Health Manager?
When I started working at Waco Family Medicine, I was told by another social worker that this was a place where you were never the smartest person, nor the most caring practitioner, in any room.
Day after day that has proven to be true and I am richly blessed to get to collaborate daily with doctors, nurses, clerks, IT professionals, and other social workers that are all paragons of compassionate, patient-centered care.
What makes your job in social work unique?
It’s hard for me to say, as I don’t think I’ve ever had a typical social work career. But I love that I can go from a phone call with a patient where I’m providing counseling and support for medical or socio-emotional challenges to a meeting collaborating with insurance companies on ways that we can partner to better care for patients.
All of that paired with building programs to provide needed care means that I get to operate on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels daily. Which, if not atypical, is special to me and one of the things I value about my role.
Advice to future MSW students?
The value of an MSW is beginning to be realized in the workforce, in both nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Don’t settle for a place that doesn’t value the rich variety of skills that your education, training, and experience bring to the table. And that value is not shown in just compensation, but in opportunity and influence over your field. You are a professional with tangible, valuable skills, advocate for yourself as such.
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.