What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
As a child protection social worker, my main responsibility is to keep children who are in need of protection safe. On my caseload I have a mix of in-care children and protective intervention program cases. My duties as an in-care worker are to see and observe my in-care children at least once a month and make sure they’re in good health, are meeting all their developmental milestones, being fed, have proper clothing, a place to sleep, etc. A unique responsibility to working on the Northern Coast of Labrador, I have to ensure—if at all possible—that these children are able to remain in their home communities and stay connected to their Inuit culture. Families that are on my Protective Intervention Program (PIP) caseload are there due to a concern of child abuse. It’s my responsibility as a social worker to assess the risk of the child in the home, and work in collaboration with the family to create a safety plan to reduce the identified risk. I provide support to the family, align them with any services they need, all while keeping the best interest of the child at the forefront of any decisions.

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
For any students who are interested in Social Work, I would suggest they volunteer within their community as much as possible. I would recommend they interact with as many vulnerable populations as possible, from children to elders, those with cognitive or developmental delays, and everything in between. The more cognizant you are of the difficulties other people experience, the more open minded and understanding you’ll become. Group work is a huge component of social work—we’re always in collaboration with other service providers and family members—so any experience you can get working with others would be a huge asset. A lot of my group work experience was through extracurricular activities as I played five years of basketball at STU. I found this extremely beneficial as it taught me a lot about myself, working within a group, and how to work with different individuals to achieve a common goal.

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career? 
I completed both my Bachelor of Arts and Social Work degree at STU and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was during my undergraduate degree, taking social science courses, where I decided to pursue Social Work. Thanks to St. Thomas, I was able to improve my critical thinking skills, which have definitely helped me in my career. I gained the confidence in myself to enter the Social Work profession and begin a career in an isolated community. I’ve also made some lifelong connections that I’ve been able to use for references which in turn helped me secure a permanent social work position. My time playing basketball for STU helped me immensely when working with others—inside and outside the classroom. STU provided me with more than an education and lifelong friends. I give credit to St. Thomas for the small class sizes, close-knit community, and generosity of all those who work and study there, because it’s made living and working in an isolated community of less than 600 people feel a lot like home.