Proto used the Center for Career Development to find a position in social work.

by Sophia Conti

Catherine Proto enrolled in Adelphi University’s Master of Social Work program shortly after receiving her B.A. in Psychology from Siena College in Albany, New York. While she enjoyed psychology, she pursued social work out of a desire to look beyond what’s in someone’s head.

“I wanted to do something that was more involved with the person’s environment and not just what was going on in their mind,” Proto said. She was drawn to Adelphi largely because of the School of Social Work’s reputation, but her family ties to the school and her experiences working on campus during summer breaks also played a role.

Proto’s experience in the M.S.W. program affirmed her decision to pursue a social work degree. “I had two great internships [which] made me passionate about wanting to work in the mental health field,” she said.

As her graduation date grew near, however, Proto found the job search overwhelming. Although her family was supportive and didn’t pressure her to find a job right away, four classes, an internship and a position with Bridges to Adelphi made the added tasks of creating her résumé, preparing for interviews and actually finding positions in her field seem quite daunting.

“Job searching felt like another class that held even more weight,” she said.

But now Proto is a licensed M.S.W. graduate employed by the Catholic Charities Teaching Family Home Program. As a social worker for the program, she visits three different group homes across Long Island to work with their residents, boys between the ages of 6 and 17 with mental health issues or special emotional needs. She attends treatment meetings with each group home’s staff, in addition to consulting with other program social workers at the Catholic Charities home office in Freeport.

How did Proto go from feeling overwhelmed and nervous about the job hunt to confidently securing a position in her field? She thanks the career center.

“I had heard great things about the career center,” she said of her decision to make use of their services. She started by attending a seminar for on-campus recruitment in January 2015, where she first met career center staff. Her first priority was perfecting her résumé, which she did by working with Career Counselor Allison Keibel and sending her résumé and cover letters to the career center’s email counselors, which critiqued her résumé within a few business days.

Next, Proto tackled the always nerve-wracking job interview. She attended a seminar covering interview preparation and participated in mock interviews, which prepared her for whatever interviews came her way. Proto also used the career center’s job search engine for on- and off-campus employment.

Proto found and applied for three positions and was asked to interview for all three. At an on-campus job fair, Career Counselor Maria Casey encouraged her to speak with a human resources representative from Catholic Charities —a connection that helped her get the position in which she now works. “Maria was always looking out for opportunities for me,” said Proto. “And when I got my job, she was as happy as my family was.”

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