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Sarah ahn

M.S.W. Class of 2013

Attending Smith College School for Social Work has been the fulfillment of a long-term dream. After twenty years as a marketing professional, I felt that my work was not completely syntonic with who I was and who I wanted to be. What I really wanted was a career where I could directly impact the lives of children, adults and families. As I began to research graduate programs, I found that Smith consistently rose to the top as the best schools in the country for psychodynamically-informed clinical training. Smith’s intensive 10-week summer program also met my family’s needs as I am the proud mom of three cherubs; ages 9, 8, and 5. My kids have enjoyed relocating to Northampton from Boulder, CO for the summer and it’s been an enriching experience for all of us.

I had a great field placement last year as an intern at the Boulder Institute of Psychotherapy and Research, a non-profit clinic that offers sliding fee services for children, adolescents, adults and couples. My internship was rich with both formal and informal training opportunities as I took a neurobiology, psychodynamic theory seminar as well as a group process seminar. I appreciated the psychodynamic focus of our clinic as it contrasted nicely with the cognitive behavioral skills that I learned in my first year placement at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect in Aurora, CO. Kempe is nationally known for their training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Parent Child Interaction Therapy.

Stimulating, transformative and relentless, are some of the adjectives that I would use to describe my experience here at Smith. The quality of the teaching is top-notch! It’s amazing how much knowledge is imparted in such a condensed time frame. And the learning continues throughout the year. I have always learned best by doing and with such a lengthy internship (30 hours/week from September to April) I was able to put into practice all that I had learned from the summer and then some. In addition, I have really enjoyed getting to know such a diverse group of thoughtful and supportive peers.

The Smith experience is like a rollercoaster - the anticipation can be nerve-wracking, but the ride is exhilarating. Be sure to keep your seatbelt securely fastened and you will emerge with an amazing sense of agency, accomplishment and achievement!