Two recent Master of Social Work (MSW) graduates from Newman University are ready for their next chapter and to better the community.
Ashton Anderson’s calling
Ashton Anderson initially came to Newman as an undergraduate. She was a member of the bowling team and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work before continuing in the master’s program, which she chose in large part because of the trauma-informed care the program emphasizes.
“It was important for me to be able to learn more about how trauma impacts social work, as I already am in the field and I have my license in addiction counseling,” Anderson said.
In fact, Anderson enrolled in the MSW part time because she had a full-time job and other life responsibilities to take care of. She currently works at Higher Ground, an addiction treatment facility, where she helps people who are involuntarily placed in treatment due to things like probation or parole orders.
“One of my passions is to be able to reach the criminal justice system and the brokenness of it,” Anderson said. “Eventually, my long-term goal is to do private practice and to specialize in ADHD, depression and eating disorders, which are things I’ve struggled with personally.”
Anderson’s eight years at Newman served as a reminder that she chose the right field to work in. Michael Duxler, associate professor in the School of Education and Social Work, especially instilled this in her.
“The way he would talk about the profession and the way he would be there for us as students were my aha moments,” she said. “This is where I was supposed to be.”
An ASC sister’s desire to serve
Fellow MSW graduate Sister Sarah Harbaugh, ASC also felt the impact of Duxler.
“He did a really good job at seeing our humanness in each and every class we had,” she said.
Harbaugh has called Wichita home for the past seven years and attended Newman because she felt called to.
“I didn’t choose Newman — Newman chose me as an Adorer of the Blood of Christ,” she said. “When I was looking to get my master’s degree, it was the obvious choice because of the roots of the sisters here.”
What Harbaugh found to love most about the MSW program was its small size.
“You’re not lost in the crowd,” she said. “You’re not one of 100 people graduating. We are one of seven, so we got more one-on-one time with professors. We could ask questions when issues or personal things came up. Our teachers saw us as humans and not just a name or a number.”
This summer, Harbaugh plans to volunteer at the U.S.-Mexico border before seeking out a full-time job — something she’s not entirely sure of yet.
“It depends on the day of the week you ask me,” she said of what she wants to do. “That’s the beauty of what social work is. It is such a wide and varied subject that you can do so much with one degree.”
Earn a Master of Social Work degree at Newman
The MSW program, with a focus in trauma-competent practice, offers students a supportive and individual education in the classroom and in field education.