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MSW Program, Veteran Suicide Prevention

I am a Filipino-Caucasian woman born in North Carolina and raised in New Mexico. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and anticipate graduation, from the MA program in Human Services with a specialization in Marriage and Family, in March 2011.

My father was a serviceman who fought in Vietnam. He came home suffering from ‘flashbacks’, anger and a heavy drinking problem. He never sought any kind of counseling or other treatment which was not, at that time, routinely available anyway. Eventually our family life disintegrated. My purpose in applying to join this program is to try to ensure that no other soldier, veteran, spouse or child suffers as we did in a situation which was almost certainly preventable by trained intervention. I am an active duty military spouse and have personal experience of the special problems suffered by those serving and by their families.

 I chose Criminology as the major for my Bachelor’s degree because of a curiosity about what drives people to crime and a disregard for others. These studies were relevant to volunteer work I undertook in a domestic shelter and later voluntary work with victims of violence and sexual assault in the military community when acting as a victim advocate. I spent substantial amounts of time with victims but one of the most formative events occurred when a little girl, whose father had been removed from the home because of domestic violence, asked if he would be allowed home “if I finish my peas”. I decided then that I wanted to be involved in early intervention to prevent these problems arising rather than reacting only after the event.

In order to be involved in prevention rather than post-event cures, I took on the role of a Prevention and Education Specialist as part of the Counseling Service Team aboard the Marine Corps Base Camp at XXXX. This role enabled me to work towards prevention of domestic violence, sexual assault and suicide. I was also trained in combat operational stress awareness. I saw, in some cases, close resemblance in symptoms demonstrated by soldiers returning from active duty to those of my own father.

 I have run several marathons during my life. This activity requires very many hours of training and dedication to be successful. My life has been something like undertaking a series of marathons. Sometimes I have not prepared sufficiently, believing that things were more easily achieved than was actually the case. This was true of my studies for my Bachelor’s degree. Frankly my results were not ‘stellar’ however, following that experience, I decided that I must regard my studies for my Master’s degree as one more marathon and one that would be prepared for and undertaken with focus, dedication and diligence to get to my goal. My GPA now stands at 3.8,  I have worked very hard to overcome an earlier lack of focus and dedication. I will give my studies in the program ‘everything I have’ as my objectives are wholeheartedly and passionately desired. I would particularly draw attention to the subject of the Master’s degree that I am now about to complete as I regard this as highly relevant to the MSW program.

 My objectives are to use the training provided by the Master’s program to work with those scarred by their experiences of war and their families to minimize the effect of the stresses and mental ‘wounds’ affecting soldiers and veterans. In short, to stop the war continuing in minds and in homes. I am sure that the program will go far in equipping me to do so. I am especially interested in undertaking research in the area of combat operational stress and the impact of deployments on military families and also into domestic violence among the military.

 I am convinced that I possess the personal qualities necessary to become an extremely effective social worker. I am a genuinely sympathetic to those in distress without being unrealistic or sentimental.  I am considered to have excellent interpersonal and problem solving skills. I am a good organizer and motivator. I am a confident public speaker and enjoy debate. I enjoy working within a team and like to share information and views with others. Not least, I know the value of a smile and I have a sense of humor.

 I have a mixed ethnicity and spend leisure and working time with people from many different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. I relate well to others regardless of culture and positively enjoy the interesting contrasts that cultural diversity brings. I know that the demonstration of cultural awareness and sensitivity will be essential to my success in the program and as a social worker.  I am aware of the core values of social work and fully support and share them. I would always uphold those values during my training and ultimately in my work.  

 The excellent reputation of the School of Social Work Master’s program is well known and those reading this statement will face some difficult decisions. However I feel sure that my personal qualities, highly relevant voluntary and professional experience, my academic choices to date, and especially my genuine longing to serve and help bring about positive changes in lives, provide an excellent basis for highly successful participation in the MSW program. I am sure that I can bring useful insights to the benefit of the academic community and become an asset to the School.

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For almost two decades now, I have supported myself and my family by helping applicants to graduate school draft eloquent and highly effective admission statements for degree programs BSW, MSW, DSW; and PHD. I am convinced that I have talent in this area as a bleeding heart, myself, a militant for healing and a lifelong learner; it is the stories of social workers that most intrigue me. Working on behalf of social workers keeps my heart engaged as well as my brain. 

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