Name: Kathryn “Katie” Barnes 

Hometown: West Brookfield, MA 

Year of Degree Completion: Graduated with BSW in 2022 and will earn my MSW in 2023.

Why did I pick Anna Maria College as your graduate school? I selected Anna Maria College because I have found a family at AMC. I attended AMC all four years of my bachelor’s program and here I found and was able to pursue my passion of combining my love for helping people and social work with my love horses and other animals. 

What are your favorite things about the MSW program?  I have always loved going to school and learning. Often in my education I felt like I wasn’t not being pushed academically or that I wished I was doing more. In the advanced standing MSW program I have felt challenged and supported. The MSW faculty is comprised of so many professionals with a broad range of backgrounds, expertise, and experience. The faculty in the MSW program truly want students to succeed! I also love that the field liaisons work hard to place you in an internship that you want. 

What do you hope to achieve in the future with your graduate degree? Following my graduate degree, I hope to obtain my LCSW licensure, and eventually my LICSW licensure. I plan to work at my current internship placement, AVIV. AVIV is an outpatient private practice mental health treatment program that offers animal assisted psychotherapy.

Where do you currently work and what do you enjoy about your career? I currently work for Anna Maria College as the Director of the Equestrian Team. I am also a clinical intern 20-25 hours a week at AVIV. At AVIV, I meet with between 7-10 clients weekly and I love being a therapist. I am able to combine my lifelong love and passion for horses with my education and gain clinical experience working with clients suffering with a variety of mental health diagnoses. I have found that animals can be a therapeutic tool and resource for clients on their path to healing. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a social worker? The most rewarding aspect of being a social worker is the power of relationships. Interfacing with a client and listening to them can be incredibly powerful. Having the clinical skills and resources to empower clients and being an agent of change is the most rewarding part of the job to me. 

What should prospective students know about Anna Maria’s MSW program? Prospective students should know that with hard work, anything is possible! I would encourage prospective students to practice time management, lean on the supports provided to you if needed, and find something your passionate about. The Anna Maria College generalist practice degree creates opportunities for students to work in a variety of settings with a variety of different client populations! Don’t be afraid to branch out and follow your dreams! 

For more information about Anna Maria’s Master in Social Work program visit