Travis Hales believes in carrying out a task to its greatest potential, and his pursuit of a career in social work is no exception. Hales graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy, always thinking about what his next step would be. While the prospect of becoming a professor of philosophy was not entirely unappealing to him, Hales felt that his natural bend toward helping others could better flourish in a practice-oriented field. With an interest in systems-level change, Hales attended an information session about the dual MSW/PhD in Social Welfare program. The guidance and evident expertise of faculty members compelled him to join the UBSSW community, and they have helped foster success in him ever since. “I would not be where I am if it were not for the continued encouragement and support of UB SSW faculty and staff.”
Hales’ custom to take a task at hand and achieve excellence was noted by faculty and fellow students. During the two years of MSW classes, he received three awards: The Niles Carpenter Award (2013), The School of Social Work Alumni Award (2013), and the Andrew J. Laughlin Award (2014).
After completing the first year of the MSW, Hales immediately transitioned into the MSW/PhD program, where he has been formulating and pursuing his research interests. “I am interested in the relationship between various organizational factors — such as structure, culture, climate, and communication patterns — and client outcomes,” Hales shares. “Upon graduating, my goal is to work in collaboration with human service organizations to evaluate their programs, demonstrate their impact to funders, and diversify funding streams. At the system level, my ultimate aim is to shift accreditation bodies away from quality control towards quality improvement.”
While it is obvious that Hales’ propensity for achievement allowed him to take hold of everything the UBSSW has to offer, he remains grateful to the program and faculty for facilitating such success. “Even as a student,” he says, “every day, I am given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other people. The UBSSW has afforded me this.”