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Kimberly Wedner

M.S.W. Class of 2011

I chose Smith College School for Social Work for various reasons. It was the program that most aligned with my personal and professional career goals. I also chose Smith because it really was a "love at first sight" type of experience. I visited the campus during an orientation and truly felt an instant connection with the school's mission and philosophy, the structure of the program, the people I met, and the beautiful campus. I knew this was the program that I had been searching for and it was the right fit for me.

My experience at Smith, both in the classroom and the field, has been a life-changing opportunity to grow as an individual and then feel confident enough to go out and share that growth with the world. I have found the classes and summer sessions to be filled with great professors, stimulating course material and discussions, and an experiential enterprise that encourages learning beyond the classroom. The Smith classroom environment is nurturing to all learning styles and special needs. I have a hearing disability and have received tremendous support from all of my professors, classmates, and the administration.

The nature of the field work follows suit by ensuring that I felt connected to the process. Even from great distances and different time zones, I felt that Smith had all the bases covered to ensure I was receiving the maximum support and learning experience. My first field experience was in Los Angeles at an outpatient community mental health clinic in Watts. It was an enriching experience on many levels and I learned a tremendous amount while working with a range of individuals and groups, adults and children, and various issues such as child abuse, sexual abuse, trauma, and low income and minority systems' services. I also learned various reporting procedures and how to develop treatment plans. My next field placement will be in Los Angeles again, working with adolescents in a school outpatient mental health clinic. Field work is where most of the learning actually occurs through work with clients and I look forward to this each year.

My M.S.W. experience at Smith has been extremely rewarding and has exceeded my expectations. As a result I feel confident that I will be able to realize my dreams of helping people as a clinical social worker who has received superior training in the field.