Social Work 3+2 Program Graduate
After earning her BA and MSW in GSSW’s 3+2 Program, alumna Haley Pachelo is helping others to advance their education
Haley Pachelo has always had a passion for education and a heart for helping others. Today, the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) alumna harnesses that passion as a senior education coach for Guild Education, where she helps frontline workers from companies such as Target and PepsiCo to take advantage of employer education benefits and accomplish their goals.
“I’ve always been passionate about education and unlocking opportunities for those who need it,” says Pachelo, BA and MSW ’20, who works with employees to identify their goals and apply to postsecondary programs. “Students still reach out to me to tell me they graduated from high school or college. Those are my favorite moments.”
Pachelo started on her educational coaching path as a high school freshman volunteering as a peer mentor for Friends First, which educates and mentors youth to develop healthy decision-making skills and build strong connections to their peers, school and community. She says that experience was her first introduction to social work’s support mentality and to the University of Denver, where Friends First hosted summer camps and conferences.
She enrolled at the University following a gap year and majored in communications with minors in marketing and entrepreneurship. While dealing with a close family member’s medical crisis, Pachelo realized she wanted to help others who were struggling emotionally like she was, and social work was a way to do that. Through GSSW’s 3+2 Program, Pachelo was able to accelerate her degree completion and earn her BA and an MSW with a concentration in Organizational Leadership & Policy Practice in just four years (most students take five years to complete the program). At the same time, she also completed GSSW’s Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate (now called the Certificate in Human–Animal–Environment Interactions in Social Work).
Pachelo says her social work skills have been “incredibly handy” in her coaching role. For instance, she says, an employee may be working full time and have multiple kids at home; she helps them figure out how to fit college into that busy life while maintaining mental health and well-being.
“The University of Denver was a great way for me to encompass all of my passions and hobbies and live it every day of my life,” says Pachelo, who advises other to “follow your heart and passions and not worry so much about figuring it all out.”
“There’s so much you can do with an MSW,” Pachelo adds. “My MSW has opened so many more doors than I ever imagined.”