Name: Phylicia O’Dell 

Hometown: Barre, MA 

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

Why did you select Anna Maria College as your graduate school? 

I was a student at Anna Maria for four years during my bachelor’s degree. I felt that I already knew the school, plus the professors that work in the master’s courses, so it was a comfortable switch to enter graduate school. 

What are your favorite things about the MSW program? 

The professors are genuinely there for the students. When we are struggling, they are there to support us. My classmates are incredible and have been by my side as we walk into this journey of graduate school. I also appreciate the opportunities we get in the program. They can be long content-driven classes, but there is always something to look forward to, and I love that I can look forward to the future, with professors that know just how much we all work towards our goals in class. 

What do you hope to achieve in the future with your graduate degree? 

I want to work as a clinician in a mental health treatment setting. I will be able to work towards getting licensed as a Clinician Social Worker and gain better opportunities to further my path in social work. I would love to work with adolescents as I step out with my graduate degree. 

Where do you currently work and what do you enjoy about your career? 

I currently intern 20-25 hours a week at Family Continuity in Worcester. I work as a clinical intern with a specification in ACRA (Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach), which helps adolescents aged 12 to 25 with substance use disorders and related problems using evidence-based, developmentally appropriate treatments. I am working towards basic certification in this treatment model. I enjoy my work with these adolescents and watching them improve and continue their journey through recovery or, in mental health cases, gain confidence as they learn the tools needed to deal with their concerns and improve their relationships. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a social worker? 

Social work has so many paths to go down. It’s rewarding to be in a profession that has so many avenues to pursue. Not only that, but the work is incredible, especially with the many ages and different populations to work with. I have felt that my work towards my classes and internship will pay off and that what I learned in college will stick with me throughout my future. I’m proud to say I am a social work student whenever someone asks me what I am pursuing as a career. 

What should prospective students know about Anna Maria’s MSW program? 

What you will learn in classes will apply to your career. You are doing more than just sitting in class and learning content that you may need to remember in the future. You will find yourself learning different treatments you can use and practicing your skills in class. You are not alone in your classes. You find that all those around you in the social work major are there for each other. You will find comfort in your professors, and it won’t be something you will regret. There are many areas to work in, and the professors will help you find your passion and find a possible placement for your passion. As you advance in your careers, there is always time to learn more, and you will have the tools to advance into new knowledge. Don’t be afraid to try new populations you may have been hesitant about. You are not alone.