Emily Hammer began her path to social work right here at UB’s nursing program. Hammer was not sure what it was that she wanted to do with her life, but she knew she wanted to help people. Her mother, a nurse, suggested she try nursing, but it the long run that did not work out. Emily says she “wanted to do psychiatric mental health nursing, but as I got farther into the program I really could not handle blood or bodily-type of stuff.” Instead, Hammer switched to a double major in Psychology and Health and Human Services with a concentration in community mental health. She also picked up a double minor in counseling and sociology.
Emily is now finishing her first year in the traditional MSW program. She states “I have become so interested in solution-focused practice. [Clinical Professor] Denise Krause has been so good and her feedback has been so beneficial. She puts so much effort into her feedback.”
Emily’s field placement is at International Prep at Grover Cleveland High School. She explains “it’s a 5-12 public school and it has been the best experience. We do one on one and group counseling with any student that has been identified by a teacher as needing mentorship.” Emily says she often works on conflict mediation or lunch bunch groups for students who need the extra help. She explains the benefits that she has seen both for herself and the students, “it’s just been the coolest thing, to be able to see a lot of growth from the students.”
Hammer’s passion for helping others is clear as she describes her previous experiences. Emily describes an internship that she previously completed in California at a residential treatment center for teenagers. There, she served as a mentor for students with behavioral issues. She states “we walked through the day with them, helped with behavioral issues and mentored them through all the struggles and moving through all the different things that they are trying to recover from.”
Last summer Hammer worked with the indigenous population of Costa Rica, teaching them English and helping with community building, using the resources that her group brought to help the community with what they needed.
Upon graduation, Emily says she “would love to do school social work. I see myself taking a clinical route first…I’d like to get the clinical supervision to get my C [clinical license], then I would be open to doing school social work, but I would like clinical experience under my belt first…I value the macro side of things, but I am much more interested in helping the individual person. I think that as much as we can make change on a large scale, I think individual change is so valuable and so impactful and I really want to be involved in that side of social work.”