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Aaron Maracle, MSW '10

“A trauma-informed human rights perspective can help you to see not only your reality, but it also helps you to realize that how other people view the world is their reality.”

“During my junior year, I took a class in peer education, and a main focus was violence against women,” recalls Aaron Maracle, MSW ’10, of his burgeoning social consciousness as an undergraduate. “When I learned about it, I realized what a significant issue it is, so some classmates and I started a group whose aim was to educate men about sexual and gender violence.” Maracle participated in the group through his senior year while also working for UB Wellness Education Services (WES), who played a pivotal role in guiding the education program launched by Maracle and his classmates. Realizing his affinity for the helping professions, WES suggested he seriously consider social work. “The more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s a great way to do what I already love while adding more knowledge and the ability to address additional issues.”

Armed with a bachelor’s in psychology, Maracle continued his mission of gender and sexual violence education during his master’s program in the SSW. He cites his participation in a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, an international men’s march against domestic violence and violence against women, as particularly memorable. “I never thought I’d be walking anywhere in heels for any amount of time,” Maracle chuckles. He was also intrigued consequently greatly influenced by the SSW’s adaptation of a trauma-informed human rights model when he first started the program. “Knowing what I did about the trauma related to domestic and sexual violence, it was great to be able to add another layer to that,” says Maracle. “It works out great professionally because it’s not something that social workers who have been in the field awhile necessarily think about or know how to implement. I found the model to be really useful for the type of work I was trying to do.”

Maracle carries this knowledge with him through not just his field placements at Horizon Health Services and Native American Community Services, but also in his current position at Sub-Board I, Inc. Here, in addition to overseeing safety services on campus, he acts as advisor for No Woman Left Behind, a student-driven bystander intervention program. With these potent connections to UB both as a student and a social work professional, Maracle offers some valuable advice to students from any discipline: “At UB, there are so many ways to learn and such a diverse faculty, so take advantage of all those opportunities. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there with them. No matter who you're working with, whether another student, a professor, or a client at a field placement, always be ready to learn. There's always something that someone else can teach you.”