MICHELLE POWELL, MSW (2006)
What brought you to social work school? Why NCSSS?
I had the opportunity to participate in many community service activities in my youth, and the interactions I had with those living in poverty gave me strong motivations to enter the world of social work and I do what I could to make the existing social service system work more effectively for those in need. I chose NCSSS because of the variety of field placement opportunities, especially in organizations that provided a lot of macro level work opportunities.
What is your current job, what do you do in your job, and how did the MSW program -- Social Change Concentration prepare you for your current job?
I work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Administration for Children and Families as a Community Services Program Specialist. In this position, I oversee progress of grantee organizations under five distinct capacity building program models, all of which allow faith-based and community organizations to implement projects in low-income communities with an ultimate goal of serving more people, more effectively. I am the program leader for Strengthening Communities Fund Nonprofit Capacity Building Program, and in this role I make recommendations and decisions regarding program design with the goal of increasing the capacity of nonprofit organizations to connect low-income individuals to economic resources and benefits.
The classes I took at NCSSS for my graduate degree prepared me with background knowledge and strategies for successful program management, and the field practicum experience gave me on-the-ground knowledge. The classes and field practicum both taught me much about grants management and how the nonprofit sector works and I use this experience and knowledge every single day.
Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN