Part-Time MSW Program Student Spotlight: Caitlin McGahan 

The Part-Time MSW Program allows students who are not able to pursue full-time study to work towards a master’s degree on a structured, time-extended basis with classes delivered in a hybrid manner. Some courses are designed as blended courses with a mix of online learning and in-person sessions, while others are taught as online courses. In-person sessions take place every other Saturday on our Madison campus

Headshot of Caitlin Mcgahan
Caitlin McGahan 

Job title and organization:
I currently work as a Representative Payee Specialist for Dane County Human Services. 

Year in the program:

Focus area:
Child, Youth and Families-LEADSS Scholar 

Future job interest:
School Social Worker 

Why did you choose to the Part-Time Program?
The Part-Time program was the only option for me. I need to work full time and I also enjoy volunteering with the non-profits I am involved in WCASA-Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault Board Member, Urban Spoken Word Poetry Collective, Harlem Renaissance Museum, and my church, Sherman United Methodist Church. I was also returning to school after an extensive sabbatical, I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2005. 

How would you describe your experience in the Part-Time MSW Program?
My experience as a Badger has been wonderful! I finally feel like I am where I am supposed to be, after 16 years in the workforce of moving to and fro, I feel like I’ve found my niche. I really appreciate the flexibility that this program offers and the teachers and my cohort are amazing!  

What has been your favorite course so far in the program and why?
I have had so many wonderful courses, it is hard to narrow down! I think it would have to be Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice Course with Alicia Treviño-Murphy. Alicia really walks the talk and she showed us how we can do more to make a change. Also, a thousand thanks to Liz Premo! She got me through my statistics class and managed to get me to like statistics by the end of class, which is no easy feat! I also really appreciate all the real world experience that all the professors share, it really helps make the learning process more applicable.   

How do you think the Part-Time MSW Program has prepared you for entering the field of social work? 
I am getting into Social Work a bit later than some of my counterparts, but I feel like that does not hinder me as this program has given me an excellent foundation. I was also pleased to find out that while I may not have the exact social work language down, my real world experiences are something that I can draw from, and the Part-Time program helps us to continually cultivate. I have also learned so much in my amazing field-placement and class. I am so grateful to have Amanda Zuehlke as a resource as she shares a ton of helpful, first-hand experiences.   

What would you say to someone who is considering the program?  
Apply! Don’t hesitate, just do it. I was worried I would not get accepted into the program but I am so glad I gave it a shot-it was a real game changer for me!  I talk about the benefits of the Part-Time program every chance I get.   

What UW support services have you used during your time in the program (ie: Writing Center, etc) and how did they help you?
My classmates have been the most amazing support system! We celebrate each other’s successes and support each other in the down moments. I feel like even though we started in the pandemic, we already knew each other when we went back to in-person classes this year. I really appreciate the unique skills and gifts that each one of us brings to the table.