A Minor for Many Majors 

The BSWA eboard is shown at Trunk or Treat. Top row from left, Jessica Cuoccio and Karen Hernandez. Bottom row, from left, Emily Connor, President Devyn Beswick and Amelia Izzo. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 5, 2019) – The School of Social Welfare is rolling out a new Social Welfare minor this fall.

The announcement comes during March, which is National Social Work Month. Students of all majors can declare the new minor this fall.

Mary McCarthy, BSW program director, said, “We think there are many students who aspire to careers in journalism, medicine, teaching or politics who might also find a minor in social welfare studies adds a better understanding of the social welfare systems and policies in our country, as well as a grounding in human and community development.”

The new minor includes a required Community and Public Service Program course, where students gain hands-on experience with a community agency.

Devyn Beswick, a double major in psychology and social welfare from Hicksville, N.Y., changed her career goals after taking social welfare courses.

“To any student interested in the Social Welfare minor, all I can say is ‘Go for it!’ ” she said. “Give it a chance, allow it to open your eyes and your mind to all of the ways in which you can serve your community and create a lasting change in the lives of others.”

Beswick, who is president of the Baccalaureate Social Welfare Association (BSWA), will attend the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work after graduating this May.

“I believe that being a double major in these two disciplines has given me a very different perspective and has broadened my ideas for ways I can promote social justice and plant seeds of change,” she said.

Originally planning to major in psychology, she met Alyssa Lotmore of the School of Social Welfare, assistant to the dean, alumni outreach and engagement, on Accepted Students Day.

“Alyssa opened my eyes to the experiences I would gain within the social welfare program and I was especially intrigued by the field experience the program offered, which I knew I would not gain within the psychology program alone,” Beswick said.

“So I decided then that UAlbany was the right fit for me and that social work would be an interesting new journey that I chose solely for the direct practice experience.”

Four years later, she is more passionate about social work than any other career path.

“Ultimately, my goal is to advocate for global education policy reform and ensure that children around the world have equal access to a meaningful education,” she said.

As president of BSWA, Beswick facilitates mentorship relationships between juniors and seniors in the program. The BSWA also engages with the Albany community by hosting events like Trunk or Treat, the annual Halloween event for families.

“There is no better feeling than knowing you have the power to make a difference,” Beswick said. “This minor will give you a glimpse into the world that we live in today and it will provide you with an array of perspectives that will only benefit you throughout your career, whatever you choose to do.”

School of Social Welfare Dean Lynn Warner said, “We know that careers in social work and related fields are only going to increase over the next couple of decades. For students thinking about graduate school, a social welfare minor will put them in an excellent position to earn an advanced degree in a helping profession. For students seeking a job after graduation, courses in the social welfare minor will help them develop the kinds of skills employers are looking for, such as engaging and collaborating with diverse individuals and groups.”

One way for prospective social welfare minors to learn more about this field is to listen to the show that Lotmore co-hosts with Associate Professor Eric Hardiman, The Social Workers Radio Talk Show on WCDB, 90.0 FM.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.