When Danielle Maurice, began looking at graduate schools, her initial goal was to become an attorney, something she’d dreamed of since she was a little girl when she noticed her parents, who are immigrants, were part of a frequently marginalized population whose needs aren’t always being met. Ever the justice advocate, she was turned onto the SSW when discussing her options with her advisor. “After researching what it really means to be a social worker, I realized it is a stepping stone to becoming an effective attorney,” Maurice explains. “You can’t be a successful attorney if you don’t form that relationship with the client, if you don’t know what that client has been through, if you don’t understand their trauma. To be an effective attorney you must also understand the social aspect in order to make an effective legal decision. ”
Maurice elected to begin her MSW after contemplating the JD/MSW program, aiming to dedicate herself to the rigorous SSW coursework and immerse herself in the field prior to pursuing a law degree. “UB has one of the top social work schools and is the best educational experience I’ve had from every angle,” she reflects, misty eyed. “The professors are phenomenal. I went through some challenges, as many people do, but the professors are so receptive toward change and willing to help students.”
A busy mother, wife and caretaker of an ill family member, Maurice had a lot on her plate while working on her master’s. She struggled through her theory course with Dr. Laina Bay-Cheng, but constructively recalls that difficulty. “Dr. Bay-Cheng was very positive when approaching my challenges. She talked to me to understand where I was at and what was going on, so I was able to pick myself up and understand my expectations and theirs. Without that experience, I wouldn’t be the confident professional I am today.
“I really am thankful for Dr. Bay-Cheng having been a part of my education. She was the marshal for my graduating class, and I was so proud to march behind her onto that stage. It also felt good to be hooded on stage by Clinical Professor Sue Green; she also had a major impact on my education and the professional I am today.”
Maurice continues to utilize the knowledge and experience of the UBSSW faculty in her professional career at People, Inc., where she is currently a Medicaid service coordinator assisting individuals with developmental disabilities in gaining access to necessary services. She keeps close the five principles of trauma-informed care, Clinical Professor Denise Krause’s emphasis on solution-focused tools, and Dr. Thomas Nochajski’s research methods, attributing her first professional referral being approved to principles he instilled in his research course.
“The SSW provided me with so many different tools I never imagined I would obtain. It provided me with everything a good social worker should be, and even today it provides me with a group of professionals I can always go back to. If there were more schools with a curriculum and faculty like the UBSSW, we would have an improved field and improve others’ perceptions of social workers.”