MSW Program Expands Alumna's Career

For Hannah Struder MSW ‘16, being a social worker is about being part of other people’s stories.

“I chose social work because I wanted to be a witness to their experiences, and their strengths, and their determination,” said Struder, who pursued her master’s in social work through Pacific University’s two-year program in Eugene, Ore.

Social workers can work in a wide variety of settings and roles, and Struder started her career as a caseworker for adults with disabilities. She wanted to explore a more clinical approach, though, one that required a master’s degree.

The Pacific University Master of Social Work Program offered a small cohort of students and close relationships with professors, she said.

“We had 12, 13 students for two years,” she said. “You can’t ask for a more tailored and individualized classroom experience.”

Pacific also offers authentic real-world experiences through a variety of practicum settings. In her first year, Struder completed a practicum with a prison re-entry program in Portland, which ultimately ended up turning into a full-time job.

“It was a passion of mine, it was a really deep interest of mine, but I had never been able to get into that field based on my experience,” she said.

“My practicum and the MSW program really allowed me this opportunity to jump into this field. For me to get my master’s really allowed me to get to that next level … reaching that next level and being able to do more than I was doing before.”

Oct. 3, 2016