MSW + Master of Divinity
With master’s degrees in social work and divinity, dual-degree grad Rahdearra Paris Woods combines her callings
Rahdearra A. Paris Woods was not only called to the ministry; she also had a calling toward social work in the nonprofit sector. One might think that she’d have to make a choice between the two. Through the Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Divinity (MDiv) dual-degree program at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), she was able to choose both.
“GSSW provided me the opportunity to answer both calls and not force me to choose one. I was able to get the best of both worlds and live into the ‘both and’ of life,” Paris Woods says.
Paris Woods says her internships at GSSW led directly to employment, and her courses prepared her to succeed in her roles.
“The courses offered included the ability to take classes in other areas of interest. This helped to equip me with the language, tools and skills to be an effective social worker and counselor in my current position,” she says.
The Social Work and Social Justice in South Africa class opened her up to new horizons, literally and figuratively.
“My best experience at GSSW was having the opportunity to make a life-changing, life-altering and liberating trip to South Africa. I’d never flown across the ocean to another continent” Paris Woods says. “This trip empowered me as an African American with the strength and courage that is sometimes stripped through systemic racism and institutions. The trip helped to increase my leadership skills and gave me a renewed spirit and a new powerful outlook on life.
“When I returned to the United States, I felt like I could take on the whole world,” Paris Woods adds. “My issues seemed small, and I felt victorious before the battle was already won.”
She credits the mentorship she received with fostering ongoing supportive opportunities. Paris Woods recommends that incoming students take advantage of the school’s offerings, including faculty and staff who care about students. If you ask, she says, your needs will be met.