Social work was always Katie McClain-Meeder’s path—“to work towards the common good, walk with people and help improve lives.” After some varied experience and growth, she’s found her way here.
Post-undergraduate studies near Boston, she worked with refugee youth, aiming for international social work. Returning to Buffalo around 2007 (she’s from the area), she founded a similar program called Hope, still operating at Jericho Road Community Health Center.
Seeking a broader practice experience, McClain-Meeder worked with teenage moms in foster care, ending up at Gateway. She returned to UB to get her MSW, and found her true road.
“Trauma is the common thread that runs through social work,” she said recently. “The realization that each population—whether refugees or teenage moms in foster care—has different yet similar needs is influential. In all cases, we try to understand some of what they’ve been through, respond in affirming ways, and offer some hope.”
She takes a special pleasure in her current role. “It’s exciting to provide connections and meaningful field experience for students,” she said. “I also enjoy bridging what can be a divide between community practice students and faculty.”
McClain-Meeder also walks the walk at home; she and her husband own and operate Little Bear Farm, where they grow and market ecologically responsible food (eggs, vegetables).