Alumna Spotlight: Rebecca Frank, Social Work Major and 2009 Graduate
May 23, 2013
Being a social worker offers many diverse career opportunities and a chance to work with a variety of people. Rebecca Frank, a case manager at The Guest House of Milwaukee, was an undergraduate at UW-Whitewater from 2007 to 2009. She originally transferred from MATC and had an interest in sign language, but it was only after looking into the field of social work that she found the right major for her.
Frank chose her academic career after researching a number of accredited social work schools in the area, ultimately choosing UW-Whitewater where she declared a major in Social Work and a minor in Race and Ethnic Studies. Besides being active on campus as a Resident Assistant and belonging to a sorority, she became involved in SWSO, the Social Work Student Organization, and served time as president on the executive board. Frank participated in a number of volunteer and charity events, including Urban Experience, a volunteer event in either Chicago or Milwaukee, and even founded the first graduate school fair for social work students on campus.
In the social work field, there many environments in which a professional can work, including child welfare, the homeless community, or even in hospitals. Frank chose child welfare as the focus for her required internship her senior year, but she didn't realize that she would end up being called to an entirely different population for her career.
"The great thing about social work as a profession in general is that it's so broad and very vast, and it's not like going into a specific career path and you know exactly what you're going to do when you get out," Frank said. "Pretty much anywhere where there is a population of people, there's a social worker working at some level within it.
Right after graduating in August, Frank got a job by September as a case manager at the Guest House of Milwaukee, an anti-homelessness agency with a variety of different programs including on-site alcohol treatment and a mental health clinic.
"It's really applicable to different things in life. You have a lot of choices when you graduate. You can try something and if you don't like it or you don't feel it's the right population for you, you can turn around to move to something else. There's a lot of flexibility."
Frank is thankful that she was open to trying a different population to work with because she has really enjoyed working at The Guest House. "I think this position is extremely important because it got my foot in the door. I initially started as a case manager and then I became a coordinator of a program, and now I'm managing different programs."
For any student considering a degree in social work and is wondering about the job outlook, Frank strongly suggests the major. "It's a very stable career," Frank said. "My husband also went to Whitewater and he's a social worker, too. He found a job relatively quickly as well."
Acknowledging how many students are afraid of finding a job after graduation, Frank said that social work is and will continue to be high in demand. "I think that if the economy gets worse and as people continue to go into crisis, we'll actually see more people go into the social work profession to deal with some of the emergencies that go on in our community."
Frank will be looking forward to graduating from graduate school this summer and will continue working in a field that she loves. She highly recommends UW-Whitewater for anyone looking into opportunities not only to study, but also to get first-hand experience with social work. "I think it's a school that offers a lot of learning opportunities for anybody and I think the social work program is full of wonderful professors that are open and kind and willing to help you. I think it's one of the best decisions I probably ever made."
Story by: Eleanor Jacobson, L&S Media Spotlight Writer