Michele Sevigny, second year M.S.W. student, is inspired by the joy of a shared smile.

by Stephen Levine

“I still believe in the power of a shared smile.”—Michele Sevigny

Michele Sevigny knew she wanted to be a social worker “to see people smile,” as she put it. Then, while attending her first Lobby Day in Albany, the New York State capital, in 2012, she became aware of the political aspect of social work. Now in her last semester of Adelphi’s graduate program at the Hudson Valley Center, Ms. Sevigny serves as student coordinator of Lobby Day.

She said that Lobby Day helps “students understand the legislative practice and how they are connected.” This year, students lobbied for loan forgiveness.

As a returning student, Ms. Sevigny’s journey toward her master’s degree in social work has taken her many places, but bringing happiness to others was something she always envisioned herself doing.

“I suppose that childhood dream of sharing a smile had something to do with wanting to work with people,” Ms. Sevigny said. “I still believe in the power of a shared smile.”

After she achieved her bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, she began to share a smile in a theatre arts program. She also worked with Head Start and the foster care system, during which time she realized she wanted to pursue her master’s degree in social work.

In addition to being a key part of Lobby Day, Ms. Sevigny has been an active member of the Graduate Student Association. During the Fall 2013 semester, she helped raise funds for a local Head Start program called Crayon Drive that successfully raised more than $1,700 worth of classroom supplies. She is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work.

“I make every effort to attend any workshops available to me to continue to learn and broaden my horizons,” she said.

Ms. Sevigny plans to “continue to be a part of motivating and inspiring M.S.W. students to find their voice in the world of advocacy” after graduating in Spring 2014, she said, adding that she is committed to “keeping and creating connections between social work and the legislative process.” As far as working with clients, “Initially, I would like to get some clinical experience working with the teen mothers population and their children,” she said.

Although the soon-to-be graduate was well on her way to a career in social work before entering Adelphi’s campus, she is still very grateful for the experience it has provided her. “It’s been very rewarding and very enlightening because I now understand how broad the field is,” she said. “I am thankful for my professors, who have afforded me much insight and inspiration.”

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