Every March, Chamberlain University celebrates Social Work Month, a salute to social workers who serve as advocates, champions and leaders, and make our society a better place to live. And each year, the National Association of Social Workers shines a spotlight on this helping profession.
As part of Social Work Month, we celebrate and honor the contributions of two of our own barrier-breakers and innovators: Stacey Borasky Ferguson, EdD, MSW, dean of the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program, and Linda Quast, MS, MBA, PMP, faculty manager of the MSW degree program. Here are their inspirational stories.
Chasing A Passion for Social Work
Growing up in West Virginia, Dr. Borasky Ferguson often heard her state and its people ridiculed. She saw West Virginiansignoredby leaders who didn’t seem to care about Appalachia.
“I remember being so outraged by the ignorance and it made me realize that I would always fight for people who were left out, mistreated, or made to feel like they didn’t matter. I would fight for justice because everyone matters, and everyone deserves a safe, secure life,” she says.
While earning her master’s in social work, Dr. Borasky Ferguson developed a program with 7th and 8th-graders that taught problem-solving, communication, stress management and other life skills. After graduating with her MSW, she started a model treatment foster care program for teenagers in Tennessee; the model ultimately was used throughout the state.
“I have a special affinity for teenagers in foster care. I know what happens when they age out of care and have no place to go. We need to provide a place where they belong. They need a system that provides them safety, security and permanency,” she says.
She earned an education doctorate so she could use her knowledge and experience to educate aspiring social workers. Answering that call to service is threaded throughout the Chamberlain MSWdean’s life and career. She was inspired to the field by her mother, who worked for the Department of Health and Human Services, and she now has a daughter involved in gerontological social work.
“It’s in her blood,” she says.
Learn more about Dr. Borasky Ferguson’s contributions to social work, education and professional literature.
Finding a Home in Higher Education
Career paths—and life—often twist and turn as we find our way to our true calling. For Linda Quast, faculty manager for Chamberlain’s online MSW degree program, managing financial assets on Wall Street, measuring water quality in Washington and experiencing life’s ups and downs along the way led her to find career satisfaction in the social sciences and academia.
“I’ve been wealthy, and I’ve been dirt poor. I’ve lived through domestic violence and have been successfully remarried. I understand how it works from every angle,” she says. “... I believe in human potential. I believe people can create the life they want if they have the right tools.”
Now living in Arizona, the MSW degree program faculty manager’s human services work is built on finding solutions to challenges. Quasthas provided behavioral services to children with disabilities, written grants and served on the board of nonprofit organizations. She also worked within the Containment Model, in support of services provided to parolees.
Quast has now spent more than 15 years in higher education, working in roles that include campus and online program management, student and faculty management, and assessment and accreditation project completion. She’s also taught online and on campus.
Her interests in human services and education come together in a collaboration with a special education teacher in Venezuela. Quast sends educational videos to the educator who uses them to help teach reading, writing and math.
“It helps to know I can pay it forward,” she says.
Read more about Quast’s experiences in education and human services.
Exploring Social Work Careers
This is part of series of blog posts we’ll be sharing during Social Work Month. We hope you join us in honoring the powerful, positive impact social workers have on society.
If you’re busy with professional and personal activities but are interested in advancing or launching your social work practice, you may want to choose an MSW program that lets you earn a degree online. Chamberlain’s online MSW degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CWSE) Commission on Accreditation. CWSE accreditation of a master’s social work program indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process.
With Chamberlain, you’ll find the choice and flexibility to earn an advanced social work degree that you can use in a variety of job roles. Customize your degree by choosing one of three MSW tracks: Crisis and Response Interventions, Trauma, and Medical Social Work. Engage in online coursework that’s available 24/7.
Chamberlain University, an accredited institution, offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs in nursing and healthcare professions. With a growing network of campuses and robust online programs, Chamberlain continues to build on more than 130 years of excellence in preparing extraordinary healthcare professionals.
Chamberlain University’s Master of Social Work degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation, www.cswe.org.
By Rubina Ali
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