The future is wide open for Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) graduate Rebecca Rebstock. That’s just one of the many reasons she made the decision to earn her Master’s in Social Work at OLLU. As a child psychiatric specialist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C., Rebecca had a job she loved before enrolling in OLLU’s program, but she knew she wanted to advance her career — she just wasn’t sure how.
“I was kind of noticing that with just a bachelor’s degree, there wasn’t a lot of room for growth in the positions I was in,” she says. “With a Master of Social Work, there are just endless possibilities that you can have working with children, the geriatric population, in a hospital setting – which I really like – or working at a nursing home.”
Like so many other graduate students across the country, Rebecca needed an online MSW degree program that allowed her to maintain her full-time job as a counselor for the medical center’s in-patient child and adolescent program. OLLU’s unique online format gave her the flexibility and built-in support she needed. Even though she didn’t communicate with her professors in person, they always stayed connected, either via phone, video conferencing, email and even text messages.
The program’s focus on social work with the Hispanic population was another huge draw. It’s a unique aspect that can help open new doors for MSW graduates and prepare them to work with one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations.
“In D.C., there is a very prevalent Hispanic population and it continues to grow every single year,” Rebecca says. “I thought it would be beneficial to be able to have a master’s degree with more of a concentration (in working with) the Hispanic population.”
OLLU’s hands-on field work opportunities empowered Rebecca to explore areas of social work she hadn’t had much exposure to before.
“My concentration-level field placement, which I just completed in the Spring, was done in the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, which is the D.C. child welfare system,” she says. “It was a field that I knew nothing about, and I didn’t really think I would like it.”
The internship helped change her perception, opening her mind to even more career options within the social work field. Her field instructor and OLLU liaison guided her every step of the way. It was such a positive experience, she hoped it would lead to a full-time position within child welfare.
After graduation, Rebecca took and passed her licensure exam, making her dually licensed in Maryland and Washington D.C. She submitted her resume to various organizations and got several call backs. After evaluating her options, she was able to choose a career in child and family social work that perfectly complemented her internship experience. Rebecca is now a social worker for a private agency called Seraaj Family Homes and she’s excited for what the future will bring.