Strengthened by the anchor of her family support system in Buffalo, Julia Szprygada chose to pursue an MSW with the UBSSW due to its human rights-focused program rooted in general practice, a fitting environment for a burgeoning social work professional interested in individual, community and large-scale social justice. “Human rights is one of my primary reasons to practice social work,” she says. “That and the trauma-centered curriculum fit perfectly with my interests.”
An active member of the campus and the community during her MSW program, Julia served the Red Cross and Sub-Board I, Inc. in multiple capacities, including evaluating employee handbook/policy to encourage a more trauma-informed environment, founding the student advisory board to the UB violence prevention team, presenting at a regional peer education conference on trauma-informed bystander intervention, and helping to plan a powerful Take Back the Night event on campus. She was also an executive board member of Rho Kappa, UB School of Social Work's Chapter of the selective Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society. “Being able to educate people about problems they are unaware of while also being able to support individuals who have experienced those problems firsthand — that’s why I love social work,” Julia says of her student service experiences. “What you do matters to people.”
Following graduation, Julia began a position as a community trainer at Planned Parenthood of Western New York, Inc., reaching out to communities and schools to teach about sexual health and healthy relationships. She aims to eventually earn her MBA with the goal of becoming a program or agency director in her field.