Rachel Jensen, MSW
Areas of Research & Specialization
As the Director of Field Education I seek to strengthen the community-academy relationship, facilitate the integration of theory with practice, and support students in their journey to becoming professional social workers. I enjoy mentoring students and facilitating their development of professional identity.
I am passionate about supporting and guiding others as they work to create life-enhancing change. As a social worker, I have had the privilege of doing this in a wide array of settings, working with individuals, families, groups, and communities. My social work experience includes children and family services, school social work, rural social work, medical social work, work with Latino and indigenous communities, and community based participatory research.
I find great joy in exploring the outdoors including engaging in activities such as backpacking, mountain biking, gardening, and being with family and friends.
Master of Social Work, Humboldt State University, May 2006 with an emphasis in advanced generalist practice in rural and Native American communities
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology, Saint Mary’s College of California, May 2000
Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Social Work, Long Beach State University, June 2007
Why I study social work
As an undergrad, I majored in sociology and anthropology where I began studying a wide array of social issues and the complicated relationship between individuals, social institutions, and society at large. Upon graduation, I wanted to use my formal education in an applied manner to address some of the social issues I had studied. I began working with homeless children, families and youth, advocating their educational rights and working to optimize academic success via connection to necessary supports and resources.
I became increasingly aware that poverty and other social issues do not exist within a silo. Rather, there are many intersectional factors that contribute to their manifestations. This awareness, along with exposure to the realities of the numerous social injustices affecting those experiencing poverty and homelessness motivated me to pursue my MSW. I wanted to further advance my skills and knowledge and broaden my opportunities to effectively address not only poverty and homelessness, but a wide array of social concerns.
I chose social work because it embraces a person in environment approach, providing a framework to address the complexities of social issues. It is a profession that has a strong mandate when it comes to values, ethics, and standards of practice. Additionally, it is a field that aligns with my desire to support communities, families, and individuals in drawing on their own strengths to create enhancing and desired change.
What I would tell a student considering social work
Social work is a dynamic, enriching profession that offers countless opportunities to engage in meaningful work. It is a career that will constantly push you when it comes to both personal and professional growth. You will be required to constantly self-reflect, learn or enhance practice modalities, problem solve in creative and sound ways, and think critically about the impact of social constructs on the lived experiences of those with whom you work. Self-care is of utmost importance and will become your lifelong best friend. Social work is a field that requires a certain level of comfort with ambiguity due to the complexity of the human experience. This is what makes the profession both exciting and challenging.
Earning a degree in social work can help foster the necessary skills it takes to be successful in this field. However it is important to engage in preliminary self-assessment and other forms of research in order to make a well-informed decision about becoming a social work practitioner. There are many ways to conduct this sort of research: gain baseline experience either through volunteer work or employment, conduct informational interviews of social workers, look up information pertaining to the profession, and work with the career center at your local college to get necessary support.
Board Member, Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers
August 2005-June 2006 | MSW, PPSC Internship, Eureka High School & Zane School, Eureka, CA
January-May 2005 | MSW Internship, Two Feather’s Native American Family Services, McKinleyville, CA