Posted 11 months ago
By John Axtell
Social work students from Chadron State College recently attended Legislative Days, an annual conference organized by the Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
The purpose of the annual event in Lincoln is to provide the opportunity for social work students across the state to come together, learn about legislation, and be heard by lawmakers regarding social work topics.
Vanessa Mader, a junior of Biddle, Mont., and president of the CSC Social Work Club, said the breakout session she attended about hoarding was incredibly interesting and educational.
“We tend to focus so much on the ‘bigger’ topics that sometimes these smaller topics get brushed under the rug. It is important to remember, however, that these ‘little’ topics are someone’s world, and are equally as important as the ‘big’ issues,” she said.
“The second breakout session helped me understand some of the startling statistics pertaining to juvenile delinquency in Nebraska and the legislation that is currently being debated to lower those numbers. As we were able to make connections with other social work students, experience the legislative process, and learn more about some unknown topics, our collaborative feeling was this trip was well worth our time,” she said.
After the breakout sessions, the CSC students walked to the state capitol where they ate lunch with state senators and discussed social work issues and topics. The group also observed the Unicameral while it was in session.
Mader said, “The overall point of this conference is to learn what it means to bring legislation forward, and fight for what we stand for. This learning experience gives us a clearer picture of what life as a social worker should look like.”
The past month has been a big one for Mader, who was awarded the Nebraska Human Services Association 2014 scholarship. The $600 scholarship is given annually to support a student in the state of Nebraska studying to become a professional social worker.
Mader aspires to one day be a social worker on a transplant team at the Mayo Clinic. “As undecided as I was right up until the start of my freshman year of college about what I wanted to be, I always knew that if I got to work with the elderly population, work would not ever be just a job to me.”
Social Work faculty member Rich Kenney said Mader is a very conscientious, dependable, and hard-working student. “What impresses me most is her willingness to go beyond whatever she is asked to do whether it be a class assignment or in her role as president of the CSC Social Work Club.”.
Mader said, “The time I have spent here at Chadron State learning has made my passion expand not only for the elderly but for the medical field in general. This field has so many amazing opportunities to help people. I cannot wait to continue on my path and will always be thankful for that small town nursing home where all of my dreams began.”
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