our students and alumni

Steven Halady

“One of the great things about social work, I think, is that, whatever direction you go — if you’re thinking about the skills that you have, those can translate into a lot of different opportunities.”

Steven Halady, MSW '15, possesses an outlook on life that has guided him toward countless opportunities: maintain a core set of values, and then stay open to any emerging opportunity that harmonizes with those values. Upon entering the MSW program, Halady was no stranger to the world of academia. After earning bachelor’s degrees in biology and philosophy from John Carroll University, he attended UB to earn a PhD in philosophy. For the past several years, Halady has taught philosophy courses at various colleges and universities in the Buffalo area, which he believes laid the stepping stones that brought him from academia to the practitioner-rooted field of social work. “I’ve taught a lot of ethics and justice classes over the years,” he shares, “and when I decided that I wasn’t going to try to find a permanent academic position, social work was a very easy step, given the values and the ethics at the foundation of the profession.”

Halady’s teaching background granted him a unique perspective as an MSW student. As an educator, he values his role as a mentor and instructor, and he has found ways to share this passion with fellow students, through an outlet he hadn’t anticipated. Halady led martial arts workshops that were open to all UBSSW students, faculty and staff, where he taught participants about the benefits of harnessing the discipline strategies and mindfulness practices of martial arts as a means of self-care. “I had the opportunity to do an independent study looking at Martial Arts as a form of self-care, but also the ways that the principles and the techniques and the training can be used in conjunction with or as a complement to ‘traditional’ social work practice.”

He began martial arts with a narrow focus to learn self-defense after a loved one was assaulted. Since then, however, Halady has become invested in the numerous possibilities that exist in the overlaps between martial arts and social work. “What a lot of the data shows is that when you train martial arts from a perspective that includes a lot of the ethics and the history and the philosophy, as well as the social and spiritual aspects — not just ‘let’s kick and punch things’ — when you bring those things in, it actually contributes to reducing aggression, and reducing violence, and building self-efficacy. So a lot of the things that social workers look to do — here’s this well-established structure for doing that.”

As for life after graduation, Halady feels confident in the foundational values and strengths that the MSW program has enriched in him. “One of the great things about social work, I think, is that, whatever direction you go — if you’re thinking about the skills that you have, those can translate into a lot of different opportunities,” he states. “The program has really helped to prepare me for adapting and being effective, and being happy in a wide range of possibilities that may present themselves.”