our students and alumni

Alex Liloia-Bishop, MSW '17

“The beauty of the online program is that if you happen to be home and have energy at midnight, why not start your assignment? ”

Alexandra Liloia-Bishop, a recent graduate of the UB part-time online MSW program, is clearly passionate about the child welfare system. With long term plans to work in advocacy, policy and research surrounding child welfare, UB’s trauma-informed, human rights focused MSW program was perfect for her. Obtaining her Bachelor’s degree from Philadelphia Biblical University, Liloia-Bishop says, “I started majoring in Children’s Ministries, and then I did some work with some of the social work students. I really got interested in social work. By that time I was already pretty far along in my degree, and I decided I would graduate then go back for my masters. I ended up minoring in social work with my degree in Bible and Children’s Ministries.”

Taking online classes was a no brainer for Liloia-Bishop. She explains, “I had taken one or two online classes and I really like the flexibility, and the ability to tailor the coursework to your areas of interest.” She continues, “I learn really well in that setting, being able to read and do my own research and take it at my own pace.” She added, “The beauty of the online program is that if you happen to be home and have energy at midnight, why not start your assignment? If you get out of work early, why not go to the library and do work? You can really make it work with whenever you have the free time in your schedule.”

Liloia-Bishop also offered words of wisdom for potential online students. She warns, “Don’t go into it thinking it’s going to be less work. Be prepared to carve out that same amount of time that you would spend in class and at the library and doing homework. It is very flexible, but for me making a schedule for myself was necessary, especially working full time. One semester I had two classes and field placement it was just crazy trying to juggle everything. I had printed out a calendar and had every assignment color-coded. That’s not usually like me. Know what you’re getting into.”

Luckily, for Liloia-Bishop, the community aspect of a master’s program still exists within UB’s online MSW program. She says, “I’ve been able to learn from the professors and also really get a lot from the student’s I’ve been in class with through projects and discussion boards. If you are worried about not having that networking opportunity online -- it still exists, especially the way UB has set up the program.”

Liloia-Bishop found flexibility not only in the online program, but also in the structure of the larger MSW program. She says, “That’s what’s been wonderful about UB’s program. Once you get your foundational courses out of the way (which teach you all of those awesome trauma-informed and human rights things) you can go in whatever direction you want to go.”

Liloia-Bishop has already begun integrating aspects of her education from the School of Social Work into her workplace, the foster care program at Hillside Children’s Center. “One of my coworkers is also a UB student and we just put together a trauma informed training for our foster parents. It’s very practical and based on our experiences in foster care. We’re also developing a solution-focused training to teach our foster parents to use with our foster kids.”