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As part of Community College Month, Essex County College students interested in the field of Social Work recently went on a career information field trip to University Hospital, in Newark, to learn about what Social Workers there do.
Dr. S. Aisha Steplight Johnson, Director of Student Development and Career Services, collaborated with Social Work Professor Mary Jenkins and University Hospital to arrange the visit on Monday April 22. There, the students met Mr. David Kaplan who is a Social Worker in the Emergency Room. He shared a wealth of information with the students about his role, his career path from the time he was in college, and the various positions available to Social Workers inside of a hospital as well as in the community, schools, private practice, rehabilitation centers, and other organizations.
Mr. Kaplan also spoke with the students about the skills necessary to be effective in the field. Students asked him questions about licensing requirements, his experiences, the role of the family and caretakers in healing, self-awareness of bias, and the power of perspective.
“The Human and Social Services students, Social Work Student Association (SWSA) and I truly enjoyed the presentation,” said Professor Jenkins. “Mr. Kaplan’s presentation gave a thorough synopsis of the challenges that he faces on a daily basis working as an Emergency Room Social Worker. He also discussed the many opportunities that are available within the field of Social Work. This event was great!”
The Essex County College students expressed similar sentiments. “The field trip was very interesting, as it opened my mind to a whole different field of social work,” said Margaret Thompson-Fraser.
“Mr. Kaplan he is an excellent example of a professional social worker in the emergency department.”
Rebecca Jean Baptiste also praised the University Hospital trip. “It was great to hear from Mr. Kaplan about the ups and the downs of being an ER social worker. I was pleased to hear how fulfilling he found his work. I certainly would enjoy going on future trips like this one.”
Students Eliza Bailey and Will James also participated in the trip, as did Adjunct Professor Latesha Jenkins.