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View from a (Future) Social Worker
April 20, 2020

We're checking in with our students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends on the front lines of social work during this historic time. We hope their stories will provide many lessons for future generations of social workers. If you would like to share your story, please contact our communications team at

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Commentary by Emily Statton '20

As a social work student, we've been given the opportunity to enter the lives of this pandemic's most at-risk populations while also being quite vulnerable ourselves as growing professionals. As an advocate and supporter of social justice (and overall well- being), this pandemic requires us to step up for our clients and fellow members of society. It requires us to check in on those around us while remaining sensitive to the additional challenges and hardships they may be facing. 

For instance, as students and future social workers, this pandemic forces us to ask this challenging question: In addition to the overt health risks posed by COVID-19, how else is this pandemic endangering the lives of our clients? Surely, self-isolation and quarantine can lead to a decrease in the virus' exposure, but it can also heighten the risk for domestic violence and child abuse, for example. 

It is our responsibility, as future social workers and students, to raise awareness regarding the increased vulnerability of our clients and fellow members of society, not only as it pertains to the increased need for healthcare services, but the impact of trauma as well.

As a student and future social worker, I also feel that COVID-19 has fostered a valuable conversation regarding our most overlooked, but commonly vulnerable, population: the aging. The aging population has been found to be one of the most at-risk populations among those who acquire this virus. Yet, it is clear that social inequalities, particularly early in life, give rise to health disparities in the future, particularly among those with social, economic, and minority disadvantages. As a social justice advocate and student, I feel that we are at a pivotal moment in history which requires us to analyze the ways in which we can best serve the aging population, both now, and for the future.


Emily Stratton will earn her MSW degree this May. She is currently enrolled in the Advanced Standing MSW program and the Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) certificate program. Emily is a 2019 BASW program graduate and earned her Associate's Degree from Raritan Valley Community College in 2017. After graduation she hopes to work as a geriatric social worker advocating for those experiencing elder abuse and neglect.

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