Elizabeth Burrill ’16
Winter internship: Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
Award: Blakely Fetridge Bundy ’66 Work & Learning Fellowship
Lending support: “As an intern, I shadowed social workers from various units within the department who were engaged in a range of current casework. My duties included conducting home visits, discussing open cases, making service referrals for clients, helping with comprehensive assessments and service plans, and attending school meetings, court hearings and internal case reviews. I was able to observe and provide input on potential next steps for families in the care of DCF.” This internship has prepared me well for a career in social work.
Finding balance: “This internship allowed me to engage in a great deal of self-reflection. I learned more about developing my ability to maintain a balanced perspective between my care and concern for the family, and the larger context of the work I was performing. I also learned a great deal about my time management and organizational skills while actively observing ongoing social workers manage their cases.”
Relying on resources: “I learned that the most valuable qualities a social worker can possess are strong interpersonal skills and the willingness to take risks. I also learned that what makes most social workers successful is that they are never afraid to ask for help or consult their supervisor or co-workers for a second opinion. Utilizing resources and social support within DCF is very important.”
Taking big steps: “My biggest challenge was learning how to step outside my comfort zone, and to interact or speak with clients about very personal and sensitive topics. Learning to adapt to a role that can be met with skepticism, it was so clear to me how essential it is to build trust with clients, and that it clearly takes time.”
Preparing for the future: “I plan to pursue a career in social work, hopefully within DCF. This internship has helped me obtain a better feel for the unpredictable nature, yet true satisfaction that comes with being a social worker. I am confident that this internship has prepared me well for a career in social work and has inspired me to pursue a master’s degree in social work in the future.”