SW blog showcases diversity of field


SUMMARY: Freshman social work student Caroline Whitlow has started a blog, Helping Professions of Harrisonburg, featuring professionals and community members in different fields of social work.

By: Daniel Vieth '15
Creative Services Student Writer

PHOTO: Blog screencapture

The field of social work provides students with a diverse array of opportunities to engage with their communities during classes and in their future careers. For students just beginning JMU’s social work major, the numerous options may seem overwhelming. Looking to capture and celebrate these different facets of the profession, freshman social work student Caroline Whitlow has started a blog, Helping Professions of Harrisonburg, featuring professionals and community members in different fields of social work. She hopes to highlight the role of social work in the community, as well as bring attention to local agencies, what they do and how other students can get involved.

Whitlow initially began the blog for her introduction to social work course as an ‘honors option’, or way to receive credit toward the Honors College through a supplemental class project. Rather than writing a paper or giving a presentation, Whitlow decided to use this as opportunity to boost her knowledge of the field and engage with the community within the context of the class. “As a new social work student, I’m not sure what my specialty will be in the future,” said Whitlow. “Through this blog, I can explore a wide array of professions and see what sparks my interest.”

The Helping Professions of Harrisonburg blog is a WordPress site that Whitlow updates weekly with feature stories on local social work professionals and non-profit agencies. “By writing about these professionals and agencies, I hope to publicize and celebrate their efforts, as well as encourage involvement from others,” Whitlow explained. Whitlow has also used the blog to address related topics, such as working with aging adults (gerontology), migrant education, literacy groups, domestic violence services and community service opportunities for students. “My goal is to cover a wide range of topics over the course of the blog so it represents all types of generalist roles,” Whitlow added. “I am also learning a lot about what is out there in our community, and the work I could potentially be doing post-graduation.”

“I hope that readers who are social work students will see the diverse opportunities available to them in their professional lives, and the different challenges and rewards that each role offers,” said Whitlow. “I also hope that students and faculty of other majors will get a well-rounded picture of what social work professionals do and how social work impacts their own lives.”

Though Whitlow will not continue the blog after this semester, she is hopeful that a new social work student will keep the website updated. “There are so many wonderful social work endeavors to feature locally,” Whitlow added. “I’m not worried about anyone running out of ideas!”

Visit Whitlow’s blog here: Helping Professions of Harrisonburg

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017

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