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Meet Sharee Smallwood (2016-17 Behavioral Health Scholar), Clinical Social Worker, KU Counseling and Psychological Services

Hometown:  I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.

When did you complete your MSW and where are you currently working?

I completed my MSW in May 2016 and I am currently working at The University of Kansas-Counseling and Psychological Services as a full time clinical social worker.

How did you become interested in social work?

Growing up in the Kansas City metropolitan area, I had many firsthand experiences with those in need of social services and mental health treatment. I witnessed the disparity that exists between the number of minority and marginalized populations in need of mental health services and qualified professionals, in particular those of color, to provide psychosocial treatment. I wanted to help bridge that gap, bring awareness of mental health to minority communities, and provide a culturally sensitive approach to social work services.

What was your MSW/Scholars experience like?

My Behavioral Health Scholars experience was rewarding. I found the supplemental seminars to be most helpful, as well as the opportunity to network with professionals currently working in the field of social work. I completed my clinical practicum at Children’s Mercy Hospital working with a multidisciplinary team to assist children and families with adjusting, planning and managing their social, physical and mental health needs.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

In my current position, I find working with adolescents and young adults to be most rewarding. This population tends to be eager to learn ways to take care of their whole self, to include their mental health, and accomplish relative goals to living their best life! I have the opportunity to utilize my clinical skills, along with evidence-based interventions, in a variety of ways that ultimately give my clients the tools to manage their mental health outside of the office. It is exciting to watch them learn and grow.

What are your career aspirations?

I am currently working toward my LSCSW, which lends itself to my career aspiration of working in private practice.

What advice would you give current Behavioral Health Scholars?

My advice to current Behavioral Health Scholars is to remain open to discovering and learning new information about yourself and others. There is always more to learn and the field of social work and behavioral health is very diverse. In addition, I would encourage each of you to say “yes” to more than you would say “no” to; great opportunity definitely lies on the other side of your comfort zone.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

As a social worker, I have learned to find balance in my life and to practice positive self-care to prevent chronic stress and burnout. I am newly engaged to my wonderful fiancé, so wedding planning is currently taking up much of my free time! In my free time, I also enjoy reading, sketching, and spending time with my loved ones

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