A Comprehensive Graduate School Experience Offered Online
Jennifer Stanga, MSW ’20
When Jennifer Stanga was a Denver Public Schools math teacher, a school social worker recommended the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Other alumni had recommended the program as well, but when Stanga’s husband was transferred to Hill Air Force Base in Utah, it seemed attending GSSW wouldn’t be an option.
The MSW@Denver online program came to the rescue, allowing Stanga to pursue the degree she wanted at the school of her choice.
“With the combination of the asynchronous and synchronous learning, I was able to have a true graduate experience, including making friends throughout the program and getting to know my professors in a small-class-size setting,” says Stanga, noting that her Evidence for Practice course with Professor Jennifer Bellamy even evolved into a research assistantship. Stanga says she also enjoyed involvement in the Phi Alpha honors society community and the opportunity to take a leadership role even while living in another state.
Stanga’s field internship experiences spanned school social work and integrated health care. “I have had wonderful supervisors who support me and encourage me to be a critical thinker and challenge myself as a clinician,” Stanga says. “I have been able to use the therapeutic modalities I learned in class and immediately implement them in my field internship.”
“I work with other interns from other universities, and I see the difference in my education experience,” Stanga adds. That unique GSSW experience was evident in the Power, Privilege and Oppression (PPO) course taught by Michelle Smith, Stanga says, which provided “a PPO lens that I will carry into my career.” And in the Mental Health and Health Care course with Mark Plassmeyer, PhD ’19, Stanga learned to advocate for her community, even penning an op-ed on Medicaid expansion for a Utah newspaper.
Stanga will graduate in March 2020 with a concentration in Mental Health & Trauma and plans to work as a therapist. Eventually, she hopes to earn a PhD, have her own practice and teach at the university level as well.
“I am very thankful for the unique experience that I have had at GSSW,” Stanga says. “I’ve learned and grown in other aspects of my life thanks to the leadership qualities taught throughout the program.”