Joan Pierson: First Rutgers MCWEP Graduate
Pierson was placed at a Family Success Center in Hunterdon County. She worked with individuals, groups and families, engaging in strength-based interventions, grant writing, fund raising, and other activities. Within the program she was encouraged to try new things in her social work practice. Through her field placement and classes, she learned new leadership skills, insight into behavioral psychology and how to apply these insights into her work.
When Pierson began her social work career over 20 years ago, she did not learn using computers or any of the new technology that is considered second nature today. Despite the learning curve, she felt supported every step of the way through her Intensive Weekend MCWEP experience. She received the help and support she needed with a community of instructors and advisors invested in her success. She has since become the first MCWEP graduate from the Intensive Weekend program.
Though Pierson originally assumed she knew most of what there was to know about being a professional in her field, she gained invaluable tools to add to her "tool box" through the program.
"I compare it to going in with my old tool box with my hammer, a worn out saw and the Phillips head screwdriver that I inherited from my father. It was a tool box I had grown comfortable with. And then, through my Intensive Weekend placement, I was given new power tools and the knowledge to use them," she said.
Pierson spoke about her field experience at her third and final Field Day, an annual event sponsored by the Intensive Weekend program that brings together new and continuing students from across the state to share and to learn from each other. For the crowd, she provided descriptions of her work during field placement.
"I am a DC&P casework supervisor with 29 years' of experience and a student intern at a Family Success Center who has successfully completed graduate school and field practicum, who wishes she could go back and do it all again. Cherish the journey," said Pierson.
MCWEP is a partnership among the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and a consortium of three New Jersey MSW programs—Monmouth University, Rutgers University, and Stockton College. Its purpose is to offer current Division of Child Protection and Permanency supervisors the opportunity to strengthen their skills in clinical social work practice and supervision, obtain an MSW in social work, and enhance the capacity of the Division to deliver the highest quality services to the vulnerable children and families that it serves. Rutgers School of Social Work's Intensive Weekend program is designed to permit full time human services employees to pursue their MSW while continuing to work full time. Initiated in 2006, it brings together experienced human services professionals from various fields of practice who desire to enhance their skills and effectiveness.