Faculty Spotlight: Susan Osofsky, MSW, LCSW
By her own account, Susan Osofsky has never been one to plan too far ahead, so it seems fitting that an inherent characteristic of social work perfectly complements her agile approach: “One of the reasons I love this field is you can do all sorts of jobs and try things out,” she said. And that’s exactly what she did as she found her way to UNE Online.
A spectrum of experiences
Susan began by studying speech pathology and audiology but quickly learned that it wasn’t for her. “When I did my field placements and career counseling, I found I had little in common with speech pathologists,” she said, discovering that her passion was in social work.
Inspired by her time as a camp counselor in a program for children from low-income families and as a resident advisor at Syracuse University, Susan switched to social work and earned her MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her first placement out of graduate school was an internship at a nursing home.
From there, she got a job at a residential drug treatment center in Richmond, Virginia, through which she met people who connected her to a program offering alternative treatments for nonviolent offenders. There, Susan helped clients access community service, job, and education opportunities while conducting home visits.
Susan also served as a senior mental health clinician on a crisis intervention team at a community services board in Chesterfield County, Virginia, where she provided intervention services to the community and Critical Incident Stress Debriefings to the police, fire, and rescue departments to help prevent PTSD from the incidents they responded to.
Altogether, she has been working as a professional social worker for over 35 years – including more than 20 years in private practice – helping adults and older adolescents with anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and trauma.
Read more: The 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work
Educating tomorrow’s social workers
Susan has been with UNE Online for more than three years, teaching several classes and serving as Course Lead for two classes. And she’s been impressed with what she’s seen. “In some ways, students get a better education online than they do in a traditional classroom,” she said. “In our program, you can’t hide; you have to present well-informed opinions and thoughts every week on the discussion boards, and you have papers and journals that show you’re present.”
During her time at UNE Online, she has noted how well-rounded UNE students are. “They’re incredibly bright and curious,” she said. “And most of them have either worked in the field for several years or are currently doing some type of fieldwork – and they’re using their experiences to improve classroom discussions and vice versa.”
Similarly, Susan thinks that UNE Online provides students with an opportunity to acquire a truly well-rounded education: “This program really prepares our students to go out and be social workers.”
And what advice would she give to aspiring social workers?
“Continue to learn as much as you can and make sure you maintain balance in your life: Take care of yourself, do fun things, exercise, eat healthily – because in this profession, people who want to help others can lose themselves if they don’t take care of themselves,” she said. “As a social worker you’re a witness to suffering, and you need to love your life and live a full life to remain vibrant.”
If you are interested in pursuing your Master’s in Social Work, or even if you’re simply interested in discussing the program, please reach out to an Enrollment Counselor at (207) 221-4143 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tags: Faculty Spotlight | Master of Social Work | MSW | MSW Faculty Spotlight | Social Work