Brad Linn spent five years in entry-level human services 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 at UU’s counseling center, focusing on direct work with clients and efforts to promote a healthier campus. Intrigued by the prospect of social work informed by consciousness of the importance of space and planning, Linn took explored 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 said. “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.”
With classmates Talia DiChristina, Suzanne O’Brien, and Andrew Wilton, Linn evaluated client satisfaction with Erie County’s Medicaid transportation program. Under the guidance of Research Professor Tom Nochajski, the team provided recommendations to the program’s stakeholders and made a direct contribution to county service delivery. Applied research is now at the forefront of Linn’s 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,” said 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 from my work to improving the lives of others.”