Graduating Part-Time MSW Program Student Spotlight: Samantha Tyler

Samantha Tyler
Samantha Tyler

Focus area: School Social Work

Future job interest: Schools/School Social Work

Why did you choose to the Part-Time Program?
I chose the Part-Time Program so that I could work while going to school and have a greater span of time to focus on my studies instead of fitting it all in within one year, as I came into UW-Madison as advanced standing.

How would you describe your experience in the Part-Time MSW Program?
I have had the best experience while in the Part-Time MSW Program due to having full support from my field instructor and by creating close connections with my smaller cohort.

What has been your favorite course so far in the program and why?
My favorite course I have taken in the program would have been Social Work 861 (Fall Section): Social Work Practice in Schools with Jenny Braunginn. Although this course was instructed online versus in person, I enjoyed learning the content through the informative lectures Jenny recorded and applying my knowledge to my assignments and within the field though my internship.

How do you think the Part-Time MSW Program has prepared you for entering the field of social work?
The Part-Time Program taught [me] how to balance daily life with my studies, as well as having an internship. I gained additional time to learn about my future career both in my studies and within my internship, which would not have been possible in the Full-Time Program.

What would you say to someone who is considering the program?
I never thought I would have considered the Part-Time Program because I have always gone to school full time, however, now that I have gone through the Part-Time Program I would say that it was the best decision I could have made. I was able to work while going to school, have an extra year instead of only one to complete my internship, and make lifelong connections with my cohort.

What’s one effective (or ineffective) strategy you’ve used to while attending classes remotely during Covid?
Pre-Covid I would go to Starbucks or the library to work on papers or projects, but because both of these are no longer an option, I have had to resort in making my home environment my school environment. It has been challenging, but I have made it work by listening to classical music and working for small increments at a time to stay as focused and productive as I could be given the circumstances.

What supports where needed for you to be able to complete your MSW degree?
I have utilized the writing center and specifically met with Angela Zito once every week to make sure all of my papers were written to perfection.

What do you look forward to as you get ready to graduate?
I am most looking forward to “living life.” I have been attending school since I was five years old, but my goal was always to get a degree in higher education. Now that I will be graduating, I will be able to travel, read for leisure, and have free time to do whatever it is that I would like.

What makes graduating with an MSW special for you?
When I was younger, I was told that I would never succeed in higher education and that I would “do better” in a community college setting. However, I never gave up and persevered through adversity. With that being said, I am the first and only one in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s and now a master’s degree. Through all of the trials and tribulations through my personal life and school, I can finally say that I obtained my master’s degree, and no one can take this accomplishment away from me. I could not be prouder of myself.

Who in your life is proud of your accomplishments and what would they say about what you’ve achieved?
My dad and stepmom, my aunt and uncle, and my partner are some of the few people that I would say are proud of my accomplishments. In particular, my partner, Austin, has been my support system throughout graduate school and he would say he is happy that all of my hard work is finally paying off.

Now that you won’t have classes, how will you spend your Saturdays?
I will sleep in and enjoy spending time with my family.