BSW event encourages students to learn more about social work to become difference makers

The Bachelor of Social Work major (BSW) hosted its biannual event inviting students to hear about a day in the life of a social worker. On Feb. 7, students and faculty gathered in the Los Angeles Pacific College (LAPC) Board Room to learn more about the BSW major. The event included a student panel and a guest speaker.

Emily Blackmer, a full-time assistant professor in the BSW program, spoke about the vision for the event.  

“The goal was three fold. One was to share what our social work program is all about with students who would possibly be interested in the program, and it was also for students to hear from other students [in the program],” Blackmer said.

The third component was a conversation with Lyndsay Bowen, an APU alumnus who currently works as a mental health clinical supervisor for Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. She shared her heart for social work with the students through her experience in the jail setting.

“I love the opportunity to help people. I think that social work really targets vulnerable and marginalized people,” Bowen said. “Being a Christian, I really feel like the ethics of social work are very aligned with Jesus.”

Bowen’s experience working in jails has led her to interact with many marginalized groups.

“There are so many different areas where they are kind of pushed to the fringes of society that being able to just be a person that demonstrates care and compassion to those people is, I think, really important,” Bowen said.

This event was created as an opportunity to inspire students, social work majors or otherwise, to make a difference in the world. Much of the conversation for the night centered around this passion that pushes people into social work as a career.

“I do love social work so much,” Bowen said. “Years into my career, it’s something that I’m still very passionate about and I really enjoy, and so I enjoy talking to other people who think they might have an interest in it.”

The social work faculty is committed to helping equip students for their future. This event was a resource that testified to the care of the major.

“I think APU has a very special program in terms of the caliber of students that it graduates and that excites me to continue that legacy,” said Amy Tauati, the coordinator of field education for BSW.  

Blackmer agreed with this sentiment.

“I feel like being a social work faculty person is such a huge responsibility,” Blackmer said. “Because I have to make sure that when you go out there to help people in those vulnerable moments, you’re actually prepared to do it and you know what you are doing and you are not going to hurt people.”

Junior social work major Lauren Wranosky is the president of Club Social Work. This was her second time attending and expressed gratitude for the purpose of the event.

“This year they are really revamping the event,” Wranosky said. “Social work info night is now applicable for everyone. They have the speaker who, even if you don’t want to go into social work, is still interesting.”

Though this event was an information night specific to the social work major, all majors were welcome. Tauati expressed the desire to see more non-social work students in the future and extended an invitation to interact with all of the disciplines on campus.

“We’re in the works of developing electives that invite [the larger APU community],” Tauati said. “I would invite students to look through the coursework and decide if there was something they wanted to take. At the university level, we’d really love partnership across disciplines in resolving some of the issues that we are facing.”

Bowen encouraged this change across campus as well.

“I feel like, whether or not somebody has a profession of being a social worker, in a sense we should all kind of have that social worker mind in terms of helping people that others see as unworthy,” Bowen said.

This is a passion that students seem to echo.

“I love the fact that social work gives me the opportunity to speak up for the marginalized and the oppressed,” said Wranosky. “My social work skills really transfer over into everything. The social work department has really helped me to see the need for change and maybe then create it.”