our students and alumni

Samantha Bowes, MSW Student

Samantha Bowes outside in a Buffalo park.

Photo by Onion Studio

“...the ability to complete my field placement hours at Gateway Longview has allowed me to improve my work environment. ”

Empowering Her Team While Gaining Critical Experiences

by Catherine Donnelly

Samantha Bowes, expected MSW ’23, always knew that education was her path to building her own career, but her most recent studies have also allowed her to impact her colleagues alongside her.

“I started out planning to be a teacher but realized that was not the best career for me. I tried the corporate world too, but really wanted to help children and their families,” said Bowes. “A friend shared the opportunity to join Gateway Longview as a High-Fidelity Wraparound Care Coordinator, and I’ve been with the organization since 2018. Last year, I was promoted to a supervisory position in Preventive Services. I am proud that I am continuing to advance in my career while taking classes at UB.”

In her role, she has worked to develop a local Raise the Age Care Coordination program to provide supportive services for youth impacted by this legislation. This initiative is a direct result of a New York State law passed in 2017 that increased the age of criminal responsibility to 18. This law limits prosecutors from treating 16 and 17-year-old teens as adults. This allows youth to receive appropriate services and possibly re-integrate into their communities rather than facing the adult criminal justice system. Her agency is using a blended model of restorative practices and the wraparound model to help families needing these services.

“I am passionate about helping youth but also passionate about furthering my education. I have to work full-time, so the part-time MSW option really offered me the chance to gain new skills,” continued Bowes. “In addition, the ability to complete my field placement hours at Gateway Longview has allowed me to improve my work environment. Last year, I was able to focus on a Diversity and Equity Workgroup to help support DEIJ initiatives and improve recruitment and retention practices. I also helped update our case record review process in my department to ensure client files have the necessary information."

Bowes considers her Interventions class with Professor Ferriter to be one of her most memorable classes at the UBSSW. “She really pushes her class to utilize all of our skills. One of the most beneficial things from this course was completing a solution-focused case consult. This challenge allowed me to reflect on an ongoing issue at work, and also gave me opportunities to make some changes to better support my staff.”

As for self-care, Bowes loves to travel and go camping and regularly does mindfulness activities (like breathing and meditation) using an app on her phone to ground herself during the day.

“I am truly excited for this year’s placement project. I will be doing a blended model task where I will continue to work in Preventive Services for part of the week while also working with our Therapeutic Preschool,” she said. “I am going to gain more experience related to clinical work, specifically related to Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and other evidence-based practices that are utilized with our children and families who are receiving services through this program!”