Brad Linn spent five years in human services entry-level direct care positions, including prevention specialist for AIDS Rochester, Inc., before deciding to pursue a master’s degree in city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah in 2007. During his program, he worked for UU’s counseling center, focusing on direct work with clients and efforts to promote a healthier campus. Finding himself intrigued by the prospect of social work informed by consciousness of the importance of space and planning, Linn took time to explore his professional advancement and education options prior to committing to the social work profession.
“I think a lot about the allocation of space and how we design cities and lived environments,” Linn says. “Interestingly, there are many social justice issues that go into that which intersect very nicely with social work. What ultimately drew me to this particular helping profession was the focus on environment and the person and environment interaction.”
Linn, along with classmates Andrew Wilton, Talia DiChristina and Suzanne O’Brien, evaluated client satisfaction with Erie County’s Medicaid transportation program. With Research Professor Tom Nochasjki’s guidance, the team was able to provide recommendations to the program’s stakeholders and make a direct contribution to county service delivery. Applied research is now at the forefront of his mind as he sets his sights on earning a faculty position at a research university following graduation.
“I see my work as always having a link to helpers, broadly defined,” says Linn. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be social workers, but helpers who are serving vulnerable populations. Whether it’s shaping policy, interventions or service delivery systems, I hope to be able to draw a line to my work improving the lives of others.”