Baccalaureate Students Make Impact On and Off Campus

Baccalaureate Students in the Social Welfare program at the University at Albany each complete a Macro Project during their senior year. This project is intended to provide student-learners with an experience of initiating change at a larger systems level in their internship setting. Examples of projects in the past have included planning and giving workshops, developing a short video, community outreach, fundraising, and many more. There continued to be some innovative and creative projects this year.

Natalie Turner, an intern at the American Cancer Society Hope Club, chose Photovoice as her project topic. Photovoice is a participatory research design and empowerment strategy where participants take photos of their community relating to a central theme. For Natalie’s project, the theme “Health and Wellness” was chosen. Participants took photographs of places, people, things, ideas, etc. that made them feel either healthy or well, or unhealthy or unwell. The participants then discussed their photographs. With the “unhealthy/unwell” pictures, they discussed ways of changing the situation either through reframing it or enacting community change. As part of the program, Natalie developed a showcase to display the photos and their stories. Through the showcase, other members of the Hope Club were able to look at the pictures, reflect on their meanings and stories, and think about what makes them feel healthy/well or unhealthy/unwell.

Krista Bennett collaborated between two agencies for her macro project. Krista built a partnership between Prisoners' Legal Services of New York and the UAlbany Global Institute for Health and Human Rights to create self-advocacy documents for incarcerated individuals in their first language. The partnership and project will continue under new leadership following her graduation. Krista also created a poster highlighting her macro project, which was submitted and accepted to the NYS-National Association of Social Workers Conference that occurs in May.

Lastly, Brian Zimmerman took his macro project for his placement at Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center to the radio. Brian reached out to the Social Workers Radio Talk Show on WCDB 90.9FM, a show connected to the School of Social Welfare. Brian and his field instructor were guests on the show and discussed the services provided by the health center. They shared resources, agency services, and statistics, which could be of use to many community members.

These macro projects are just an example of the many ways that the Baccalaureate students are making an impact both on campus and off. Many of the projects will continue to provide benefits to the agencies and their clients even after the students graduate.