Knowing that social work has been her calling, Sayyeda Khalfan has followed her passion.

by Rachel Voorhees

“The program offered so many things, from course work to experiences to networking.”—Sayyeda Khalfan

Whether she’s raising money for Comfort Aid International with the Muslim Student Association, volunteering in the local community with Social Work Action Gateway (SWAG) or coordinating youth group activities at her mosque, Sayyeda Khalfan believes that “giving back is a duty.” As a senior in the School of Social Work, she is developing the skill set needed for a career of helping others.

Ms. Khalfan, a senior, always knew social work was her calling, but Adelphi wasn’t her first choice initially. It was after meeting James Mullen, Ph.D., the former director of undergraduate social work, at an open house that she decided to attend the School.

“The way he described social work just spoke so well to me,” she said. “It felt like the program offered so many things, from course work to experiences to networking.”

The choice to attend Adelphi only heightened Ms. Khalfan’s passion for social work.

“Social work students are active, friendly and always pushing for opportunities to work with people,” she said. “Walking into the Social Work Building is the most pleasant part of my day because I always get smiles and support from students and faculty.”

Taking courses such as Introduction to Principles and Practice in Social Work I has taught her what it takes to be a social worker in today’s tumultuous world.

“The Science of Social Work taught me about disease from the perspective of a social worker rather than a biologist,” she said. “[The] Writing for the Helping Professions [course] made it easy for us to hone our writing skills, because we were allowed to choose topics we were passionate about for our writing assignments. We don’t just read the textbook. Each professor has so much experience from their own career and it really brings a lot of light to the lesson.”

Ms. Khalfan also credits the Honors College for enhancing her understanding of social work. She says engaging in class discussions about human behavior and analyzing texts from history have given her a “backbone” in social work.

“The Honors College creates the skill of questioning and that’s always important in social work,” she said. “You always have to question in social work and that’s for the betterment of your client.”

Aside from the classes, Ms. Khalfan is grateful for the concrete experience she has gained. After Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012, she joined a group of Adelphi students and faculty members who headed to a community devastated by the storm to offer both help cleaning up and moral support to residents. She found the experience incredibly demanding but “amazing to see what it’s like to be in a position to help people.”

She has been an active member of SWAG and was also able to put her skills to the test during her internship with the Gateway Youth Outreach after-school program at Gotham Avenue Elementary School in Elmont, New York. In this position, which is the first of two required field placements, she served as a mentor to students by helping them with with homework and resolving peer conflicts. And, over spring break 2014, she joined Julie Altman, Ph.D., associate professor, and a group of undergraduate and graduate students to study social work in Sweden.

After her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she will pursue a master’s degree, which she will earn in just one year as a student in the Advanced M.S.W. Standing program. In the future she hopes to continue her work with youth and in Muslim communities.

“That’s what I love about social work,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for me to do what I already love, professionally.”

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