Lenore Rust, Anna Maria College

Social Workers Are Essential is the theme of Social Work Month 2021. Anna Maria College is fortunate to have many talented practitioners working with its students and within the community. We’d like to introduce you to some of them.

Meet Lenore Rust, MSW, LICSW, Director of the Master in Social Work Program and Professor of Practice.

What attracted you to social work? 
I have always been a helper. At an early age I knew that I wanted a career where I could help people learn and grow. At first, I thought that was going to teaching and went to college as an Education major. But after taking an Intro to Social Work/Social Welfare class and the passion on my professor’s face for the work he was doing with families and I was hooked. I would go on to get my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology.  I had the amazing opportunity to complete an internship my senior year and that placement changed the course of my life. I found myself working with court involved youth and their families and working for agency that I would call home for over 20 years. In order to advance my career I know that I had to obtain my Master’s degree and in all my research everything keep pointing me to Social Work. I know that I would learn the clinical skills needs to best help my clients, but also the administrative knowledge to play an active role in program development and leadership.

What’s your role within Anna Maria College’s social work program?
I am proud to say that I am the Program Director of Anna Maria College’s MSW Program. I have the honor and privilege of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program.

What should students know about the program?
We are a hidden gem! Our small but mighty program had an extremely dedicated group of professional and licensed social workers with decades of real world administrative and clinical experience eager to give back and teach the next generation of social workers.

Do you have tips for students to make the most of academic and experiential learning?
My best advice to all students is to focus on the learning and material and not on having a perfect GPA.  Focus on becoming a lifelong learner and being able to find resources that best fit the needs of the clients. Ask questions, ask tons of questions in class, at your field placement and in supervision don’t miss the opportunity to learn from others.  Take advantage of the internship opportunities to work with population outside your comfort zone, you never know what you will learn or find a passion for. Learning and use self-care technique. And remember to take care of yourself and ask for help!