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2013 Groups Conference Recap

I recently chatted with current MSW students, Brandon Haydon and Natalie Hock, who attended the 2013 International Association of Social Work with Groups conference (IASWG) in Boston this past June. The Groups conference is one of many opportunities to develop as an MSW student both professionally and academically, outside of your required curriculum and field placements. Brandon heard about the opportunity to participate in this year’s conference through his SOWK 505 professor, Shirley Simon. From the first day of class, Professor Simon invited students to consider attending and presenting at the conference, and she hosted meetings for interested students to hear about the conference from those who’d participated in years past. As Brandon shared with me, “what you get out of participation in something like this conference is so much greater than the work you put into it.”

The conference is a great opportunity to network with fellow MSW students and social work professionals, as well as to develop academically and professionally through presentations on your area of interest related to social work with groups. Students interested in presenting at the conference must apply to 1 of the 3 presentation options: posters (recommended for first-time attendees, as posters are the least research-intensive), papers, and workshops.

Over 20 Loyola students and staff attended this year’s conference and presented on various aspects of the groupwork field. The trip gave attendees the chance to bond with each other in a new way, Brandon said – you get to see each other’s work through presentations but also seeing them in a new social setting. “Now I have a group who I can call upon and have academic and professional experience with, as well as a new group of acquaintances and friends. These are things that will carry on past my degree.”

Brandon teamed up with his classmate and friend, Natalie Hock, to co-present on groupwork as a culturally competent means with Native Americans, specifically through the use of talking circles. You can check out photos from the conference here.

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