Story by Cody Hall, Contributing writer
Social work students were given the chance to network with students and professors from all around the state of Kentucky at the Kentucky Association of Social Work Educators spring student conference last week.
Murray State hosted the annual conference this year for 12 different universities, including students from all of the Murray State regional campuses.
The spring conference rotates where it is held each year. Murray State is scheduled to host the conference every seven years.
Educational sessions were held for both students and professors, including discussions about the rural homeless and abortion. During the evening, food was provided for those attending and social events were planned to help the students to network.
“It gives students a chance to go to a conference and see what that is like,” said Jeff Wylie, senior social work lecturer. “The conference lets students get the chance to experience giving presentations outside of a classroom setting.”
Wylie said most of those who will be giving presentations are on a graduate or doctoral level, but some undergraduate students give presentations as well.
He said the conference shows the students that other students are learning the same things they are learning, and gives them a great chance to network with people who are studying the same things. He said many of the graduate programs from around the state were there, giving students a chance to look into furthering their education.
“In social work you need to know the right people to call in the right situation,” said Jason Freeman, junior from Pensacola, Florida. “Because there are a whole bunch of different resources you will need, and things you need to know about before you can officially help people.”
Freeman is the president of the Student Association of Social Work at Murray State. This is the second time he has attended the conference. The first year Freeman went to the event he met a group of friends with whom he plans to open a practice after he graduates.
Abby Hudspeth, junior from Paducah, Kentucky, said getting to meet students from other universities – who could become classmates in the future– is one of the best parts of the event. She also said having time built into the schedule to socialize and network with them makes it easy.
Hudspeth is a member of the Student Association of Social Work and was the event coordinator for the conference. She said it is important to learn from others at events like this because every person is going to have different experience and different ways of viewing things.
Brittany White, senior from Murray, was one of the undergraduates presenting the findings of her research at the conference. Her research was on barriers that prevent students from completing their general education development.
She said giving presentations has helped on a one-on-one level, as well as with the policies. She said it makes it easier to speak in front of people, and to get more hands-on with agencies.