Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Adhima

Jennifer Adhima, MSW 2020

Chief Program Officer, Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative

Jennifer Adhima graduated with a Master of Social Work (MSW) with a macro specialization in 2020. Today, she works as the chief program officer for the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative. 

Jennifer AdhimaAdhima said her time in KU’s MSW program helped her solidify her focus on macro social work and gain helpful skills that she still uses today. 

“Hands-on field instruction with professionals who were macro level social workers … that field experience was key in solidifying my thoughts on macro practice,” Adhima said.

Adhima shared her experience with KU’s MSW macro specialization program for a Q&A. 

Video editing and graphics by: Lizbeth Villanueva

Q&A with Jennifer Adhima

What drew you to macro social work?

Simply stated, it was the opportunity to make positive changes for people on a broader systems level. … In prior work experiences, even though I felt that the work I was doing was helping people on an individual level, many of the challenges I saw children and their families facing were affected by policies or decisions being made on a broader level that needed to change in order to really effect change in their lives. 

What’s the most rewarding part of macro social work? 

Getting to work in collaboration with others who are in the same field, who want to make positive changes. So, the most important part of macro social work practice for me is getting to work with various groups who are also concerned about early childhood, specifically in my case, making life and systems work better for children and families.  

When we’re able to improve a policy that allows families the support they need, maybe put their children in childcare or put food on their table.

How has your KU MSW degree played a role in equipping you for your work today? 

There is no typical week in macro social work practice, at least in my position. … A lot of what I do is planning professional development opportunities that are responsive to program and staff needs.

What should aspiring social workers know about macro practice? 

I think the exciting thing about macro social practice is that there are so many career possibilities. You are not just limited to working directly with clients; you can work with community members, or you can work on political campaigns … you can work in so many areas like environmental social work or organizing. 

… The possibilities are endless, which is what really appealed to me. Really, we need social workers in places where they have not traditionally been, and I think that will only continue to grow. 

This article is part of a Q&A series featuring KU Master of Social Work graduates who completed a specialization in social work macro practice. Learn more about the master's degree program on the Master of Social Work program overview page.