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Erin Shepard

Provo, UT

Why did you choose to pursue an MSW degree?
I enjoyed my study of social work as an undergraduate, and once I began working in the field, it was almost as if I couldn’t get enough of it. As I grew as a social worker, I realized there were many avenues, that without a MSW I would not be able to explore. I decided to continue my education to open doors of opportunity and better my skills as a social worker.


What are your thoughts on BYU’s focus on a spiritually strengthening educational experience?
For me in my personal life, being able to receive my graduate degree in an environment that strengthens me mentally as well as spiritually has been a major blessing in my life. Social Work is a difficult field, and navigating through it without a solid soundness in personal beliefs and values is similar to being on a ship with no sails. Although there will be many times I will work with individuals and in situations where others’ spiritual beliefs differ from my own, I will be able to be open-minded and keep their best interest in view, because I am aware of my spiritual beliefs.


What are your thoughts on the family experience at BYU?
It has been nice to be welcomed into an environment where my family needs are accounted for.


Why did you choose BYU’s Social Work program?
There were several reasons BYU’s Social Work Program stood out to me. By far the most important reason was the clinical focus I found in BYU’s program. I was very impressed with their clinical perspective established at BYU, and felt the curriculum and internships emphasized the commitment to a clinical focus I was seeking.


What are your career goals?
I have adopted a motto for my life, “that my greatest achievement should always be ahead of me, and that if I am doing what I know I should and want to be doing now. There is no reason I won’t be doing what I should and want to be doing ten years from now.” Using this as my motto, I have yet to go astray. As I set career goals and aspirations I keep this in mind, that whatever population or avenue of social work I go down, I will be and do my best.

Tell us about your BYU internship experience(s):
My spring/summer internship was with Wasatch Mental Health in an adult outpatient setting. The Wellness Recovery Clinic provides mental health care for individuals and families that lack mental health insurance and subsided mental health care. Here I have been able to facilitate several processing and psycho educational groups. I have been able to meet with individual clients and become familiar with the process of therapy from in-take assessments to termination. I have become familiar with the large spectrum of mental illness and have had several opportunities to diagnose and be supported by a clinical team. I look forward to my fall/winter placement with Primary Children’s Counseling Center, and am excited for the opportunity to gain experience in working with children and their families. I feel fortunate to have been able to have a wide range of experiences through my BYU internships, to better prepare me as a clinician.