Field fair

Yesterday all first year students had the opportunity to meet representatives from over 140 second year internship sites at an event known as field fair. Essentially this event allows you get a better idea if an agency may be a good match for you by asking questions, meeting with potential supervisors, and dropping off your resume. If it goes well, you can move forward and set up an interview. For me, in addition to seeking a  placement that offers a great clinical education is certainly important, but finding a good dynamic fit is equally, if not more important. From my experiences, the atmosphere of where you work is essential to creating to good experience, so I hope to interview with several agencies and “listen to my gut.”


The Poetry of a 24 hour News Cycle: Where everything is equal

Newsertainment or the mingling of news with entertainment mitigates the seriousness of issues. Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death” spoke of the dangers of an entertainment obsessed culture.

Taken from headlines of yahoo news on March 20, 2011

Prince William wows crowds in disaster-hit Australia

Gadhafi vows ‘long war’ after US, allies strike

Domain ‘.xxx’ approved for Web porn sites

San Francisco tries get tough approach with homeless

New York Times’ website moving from free to fees

Gottfried, ex-Aflac voice, apologizes for tweets

The Search Is On

1st year students have begun the process of looking for their second year internship placements.  Last night GSSW hosted their annual Field Fair, an event that brings internship hosts and students together.  The fair allows students to meet and ask questions about field placements, get a feel for supervisors, and make an initial impression on the supervisors.

The event can be a bit overwhelming as there are a few hundred people in the room but it is a GREAT way to mark people off of your list if you learn information that deters you but it’s, more importantly, a great way to solidify what you want to do and where you want to intern next year.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be making initial contacts (again) and scheduling interviews with internship hosts.  Ideally, we’ll have and know our placements by the end of this quarter.  Although it will be a stressful few weeks, the pay off will be worth it!

Earth Week at GSSW

In just a few short weeks, ECO Conscious, the new student organization at GSSW, will be hosting some important events during Earth Week! ECO’s mission: “to promote conservation and environmental justice within the social work profession and to demonstrate such principals in the classroom and community.” FLOW, For Love of Water, a documentary about the world water crisis, will be presented for several GSSW classes and will offer the opportunity for dialogue about social work’s role in the environmental crisis. On Saturday, April 23, members of GSSW will also have the opportunity to participate in the S. Platte River Clean-Up with other local organizations. In an effort to generate dialogue and action in the social work community around environmental issues, Earth Week will be a great way for the social work community’s involvement in global and local issues.



Pet-Friendly Denver

I have often heard many of you prospective and admitted students ask questions regarding the “dog-friendliness” of Denver.  I am here to tell you not to worry one bit–there are plenty of pet friendly housing options as well as countless outdoorsy activities to do with your pooch.

Finding pet friendly housing:

  • Use Craigslist!  (Or some other online apartment search website such as or  Just remember to filter your options by clicking “pet friendly” or “allows pets.”
  • Expect to pay both a non-refundable pet fee and a refundable pet deposit when moving in.
  • Also expect to pay a minimal monthly pet rent (somewhere between $15 and $30 per animal depending on the apartment or house).

Fun activities to do with your dog:

  • Click here for a list of city-approved off leash dog parks.  Just be careful because a few of these parks are NOT fenced in–they have “natural boundaries” (AKA: small ditches, bushes, or trees), which means absolutely nothing to my little escape artist pup.
  • Cherry Creek State Park also has an off-leash dog area that has GREAT walking trails so you can get exercise while letting your dog run free in the outdoors.  I would recommend buying an annual park pass, which is fairly inexpensive, if you plan to go here often because paying for parking every time can be costly.  Click here to check it out.
  • If you are unable to spend enough time with your dog, there are also some “doggy day-care” options throughout Denver.  I have not used any of them, but I have heard great things about Camp Bow Wow.

Before making the move to Denver, I also recommend checking out the city’s website on animal and pet policies.  They have all sorts of information here including things about licensing/registering your pet, required vaccinations, and links to Denver’s animal shelters.

So, there’s no need to worry about moving to Denver if you have (or want to get) a pet!  It’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors with your furry companion!

Me and Petey after moving into our new Denver apartment.

Transitioning from Classroom to Practice

Spring Quarter of your concentration year brings some interesting challenges, what will I do after graduation?!?! However, for some students like myself, you will get hired by your internship placement before graduation. That challenge: How do you balance trying to finish your coursework while making great first impressions and learning your new job? I tried to strategically plan this by taking extra courses in previous courses so that I can be one course lighter this quarter. Also, I am able to role my field hours into my work hours so I don’t need to be working 64 hours a week! Let me tell you that I do feel very overwhelmed by this idea, but I feel confident in my ability to time manage and that my supervisor understands that I do need to be in class 6 hours a week and we schedule my hours around that. It will be a rough 8 weeks, but the peace of mind of be employed is worth dealing with a little bit more than I would like on my plate.

With transitioning from the classroom to practicing in the field I am eager to utilize all that I have learned in the classroom and through field experiences. I am also ready to learn how I can best effect clients and families.

Girl Scouts of Colorado – Earth Hour

Hi all!

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a unique activity with my internship. I intern with Girl Scouts of Colorado. Since Denver is the capitol of Colorado our local Girl Scouts have the opportunity to participate in numerous events that involve our political atmosphere. Last Saturday they participated in “Earth Hour.”

Xcel Energy sponsored our event and offered each Girl Scouting family to bring in their old incandescent light bulbs to trade out for Compact Fluorescent Bulbs that use less energy and create less waste. Also at the event our local Council staff (myself included) hosted a table where the girls could fold paper cranes to send to Japan in support of the recent tsunami and earthquake that happened March 11th. Each girl was able to make a few cranes to send off and then also received a instruction sheet  for how to make more if they choose to.

It was powerful to be a part of this event – mostly because I got to witness young girls being involved in important issues like energy conservation and international support efforts. If young people make a habit of things like this early on, they are more likely to continue doing it in their future. Yay for empowering young girls!!

Here are some pictures from the event:

Happy Trails!


Newest GSSW tenure track faculty member/scholar publishes findings on interventions to reduce cannabis use among adolescents

GSSW faculty member, Kim Bender, along with her colleagues Stephen Tripodi, Christy Sarteschi, and Michael Vaughn conducted a meta-analysis of intervention studies that were published from 1960 – 2008 which examined cannabis use treatment for adolescents (ages 12-19).1 Fifteen research studies met the criteria for inclusion in the analysis. Their results found that not only do interventions to reduce cannabis use among adolescents have a medium effect, but that the effect size of individual treatment and family treatment approaches were similarly effective. Among family-centered approaches, three approaches emerged as having larger effect sizes: Integrated Family and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Multidimensional Family Therapy, and Teaching Family. For individual approaches, Motivational Interviewing, Behavioral Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy emerged as the approaches that were most successful. The findings of this study not only contribute to the literature on evidence-based practice, but also addresses a treatment area where little intervention research has been conducted.

1Bender, K., Tripodi, S. J., Sarteschi, C., & Vaughn, M. G. (2011). A meta-analysis of interventions to reduce adolescent cannabis use. Research on Social Work Practice, 21, 153-164.

Bad Movie Night

The Denver Film Center has been hosting monthly “bad movie nights” that feature a comedy show with a movie backdrop.  Basically, these comedians show movies they enjoy making fun of and they sit in the back of the theatre with microphones cracking jokes throughout the movie.  Not only do they make fun of the movie, but they change the music, add interesting sound effects, and talk in place of the actors.  It really is absolutely hilarious.

The audience is able to get really into it as well because the comedians offer prizes to the “best dressed” audience member.  They set a theme for the night and whoever goes all out ends up with a prize.  For example, in honor of “Swimfan” (the movie they are showing this weekend), they have requested that audience members wear their swimsuits in order to be entered into a raffle for prizes.  It sounds ridiculous, but it really is a great way to spend an evening with friends.

Check it out here: OR

Nate and the Chambers of Secrets

As one of the few GSSW students who actually lives in DU’s graduate housing, I have done my fair share of valiant and intrepid exploration of the campus.  Armed with only my chaco sandals and the same mechanical pencil that I have used since my undergraduate days, I sought to map uncharted territories and push my physical and mental limits.  After surviving these perilous journeys, I have compiled a list of the various chambers of secrets and marvels that you should take advantage of during your time at GSSW.  All of these areas offer opportunities and adventures that few souls have seen.  Behold!  The best guarded secrets of DU campus.

1) Penrose Library’s video/DVD collection – This is a free treasure trove of videos/DVDs that you as a GSSW student have unlimited access to.   The selection is impressive and covers everything from documentaries and TV series to independent foreign films and Hollywood blockbusters.  Not enough people take advantage of this.

2) Sturm Law Library – When you absolutely need a quiet space to work with no distractions so that you can finish the 1,489 final exams you have that are due next week, this library is the place for you.  Undergraduates are not allowed access to the facilities, but you as a GSSW student can.  Just don’t drop anything or turn pages too loudly.

3) Driscoll Pioneer Pub – With free pool tables, large TVs with all the sports channels, and the cheapest happy hour prices in the universe ($1.50 pints), the Driscoll Pioneer Pub is phenomenal.  When all your friends want to go pay $7 for a drink elsewhere, firmly steer them in the direction of Driscoll.

4) Lindsay Auditorium Movies – DU regularly puts on free movie showings in this auditorium.  Winning.  This occur probably every other week and are usually movies that have already been through theaters.  But I don’t care and neither should you because they’re free.  Glorious.

5) Renaissance Room – This room is located in the Mary Reed building and looks like something out of the 16th century.  There are large wooden tables, chairs, and cabinet style book shelves in the walls that remind me of Dead Poet’s Society.  No one is ever in this room.   Ever.  It’s a great place to get work done or re-enact the court life of Louis XIV.

6) Joy Burns Arena Ice Skating – Tucked away in one side of DU’s Ritchie Sports Center is this ice skate rink.  As a GSSW student you have free access to it.  Winning.  Now you can break bones and bruise egos anytime you want.  What is not to like?  The answer is nothing.  Go forth.