Diving Right In: Social Work Graduate Student Masters Critical Thinking and Adaptability
May 9, 2020 / by Michelle Thompson
Adelaide Solenberger (MSW ’20) Applies her Mason Education to Help Those in Need
Adaptable, curious, ambitious, and compassionate may be the best words to describe Master of Social Work (MSW) student Addie Solenberger. When Solenberger learned that her practicum placement – which was required to graduate on-time - was no longer open to students due to COVID-19 she quickly pivoted to join an interprofessional telehealth pilot program.
As a testament to her adaptability, Solenberger dove right into the telehealth pilot for the opportunity to further develop her critical and telehealth skills. She says, “I didn't know what to expect from the pilot when I started, but I dove right in.” She was well-prepared for the experience and was given significant autonomy by her supervisors.
As a member of the interprofessional telehealth pilot, Solenberger worked with a translator to transition a Spanish-speaking mother and child from hospital to home after the baby was born early. Solenberger and team conducted a hospital telehealth visit to support the mother and allay her anxiety. The patient indicated “feeling relieved and less anxious” knowing she had support.
“My academic career has taught me how practice with a questioning attitude and to always be open minded about new perspectives,” she says. “Every day you'll learn something new, and you need to find a way to share that knowledge with others. Mason has given me the educational and academic knowledge needed to perform in this field. I've learned how to channel my natural curiosity into critical thinking and evaluation skills.”
Solenberger is interested in mental health and says, “Healthcare is my home.” She plans to use her education and skills to work with adults with serious mental illness within a hospital setting. When asked about why she chose this field, she said “I knew that I had something to offer and it just felt natural. If I had the skills to do and do it well, it would be a waste not to pursue it.”
Solenberger worked full-time throughout her four years in the MSW program and reports, “Even though it's hard, it’s worth it. Every class I've ever taken and degree I've earned has made me a better person.” She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Mason where she had a great experience. Mason’s social work program was an affordable option compared to other graduate schools, so pursuing her MSW at Mason was a natural fit. “At Mason there is a true focus quality. The University values diversity and respects new perspectives,” says Solenberger.