Part-Time MSW Program Student Spotlight: Marina Zamudio

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.

Marina wearing a balck and white floral shirt and hoop earrings. Smiling in a crowd.
Marina Zamudio

Job title and organization:
I currently work at the Medical College of WI as a Bilingual Linkage to Care Specialist

Year in the program: 2nd

Focus area: Mental Health   

Future job interest: Healthcare, working with aging adults.

Why did you choose the Part-Time Program? 
I had the privilege of studying at UW-Madison as an undergraduate and I knew from personal experience that UW-Madison is a well-respected university with limitless opportunities. I always aspired to come back for graduate school, but I couldn’t imagine committing to a full-time program. I always had other commitments and responsibilities as a parent, a wife, and full-time employee, but one day I decided that it was time to do something for me.  The part time program has allowed me to gradually work toward an MSW degree while staying present for my family.

How would you describe your experience in the Part-Time MSW Program?
Life changing.

I’ve really enjoyed hearing the stories and experiences of my peers who work in other areas of social work such as CPS, Suboxone clinics, and domestic violence shelters to name a few examples. As a cohort, we collectively tap into each other’s strengths for guidance and support. We allow ourselves to be silly, when appropriate, and in turn, this provides a little levity to otherwise difficult situations.

This journey, however, has not been without its challenges- there were times I felt defeated trying to navigate personal and academic responsibilities simultaneously. Despite this, I have learned things about myself that I did not know I was capable of.  I’m going to show my little girls and the world what this brown woman can do.

What has been your favorite course so far in the program and why? 
My favorite course to date has been SOC WORK 710- Diversity, Oppression and Social Justice with Alicia Treviño-Murphy. I would like to use this platform to give a shout out to Alicia-she is smart, and kind, and simply put, an incredible human being. She facilitates conversations about race and oppression with such a gentleness and respect that helped us feel at ease when having difficult conversations.

How do you think the Part-Time MSW Program has prepared you for entering the field of social work?
I feel better equipped to verbalize my thoughts and to be a fierce advocate for my patients. Prior to enrolling in the program, I had this immense fear of speaking in public. During my undergraduate career, I distinctly remember being the student who avoided eye contact with the instructor, in the hopes that they wouldn’t call on me.  Now that I’m in year two of graduate school I can’t stop talking. As one of the few Hispanic women in the program, I have been intentional about sharing my own experiences and have finally accepted that my voice is my power. 

What would you say to someone who is considering the program?
Don’t let that voice of self-doubt deter you from applying. And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Do your research and make sure you are prepared to commit to this program, whether it’s financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Because I promise, you will never sit idle, twiddling your thumbs. This program is part-time, but it is still intense, and the workload can feel grueling at times. If you are seeking an MSW simply for accolades, then this program is not for you. But if you are willing to put your heart into it, then nothing can stop you.

What UW support services have you used during your time in the program and how did they help you?
Without a doubt, my advisor, Latoya Josie Kirton has been a tremendous support. She is always responsive and empathetic to my questions and concerns.