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Words of Wisdom from NASW-IL Student Rep, Rachel Seed


I recently sat down with current MSW student, Rachel Seed, to chat about her involvement in the NASW-IL chapter as this year’s elected MSW student representative.

Rachel is in her 2nd year of our MSW program, on-track to graduate this May. She’s pursuing a specialization in Mental Health and is currently interning at Rush in the health and aging program. As a psych undergrad, she knew she wanted to work in therapy. When she considered her next steps post-grad, she found that obtaining her MSW (as opposed to, perhaps, a PhD in Psychology) would allow her to more quickly get the education and practical experience necessary to get into the field.

Rachel took the opportunity to join NASW because she knew that the organization could provide her with experiences that could boost her resume. “I knew it was a necessary thing to do,” she shared. Rachel originally wrote a small article for the student networking online journal. Through this, she found the opportunity and nomination form for the NASW-IL MSW student rep. position, and she went for it and was elected!

The MSW student rep. position is an opportunity to “advocate for students, share information that may be spoken about at board meetings or NASW events, and bridge the gap between students and leaders in the social work field,” Rachel said. She feels that there is a great need for students to be more involved in NASW and to know more about what the organization provides, and she’s been working to do just that – she’s reached out to MSW students on-campus via class visits and by hosting various networking events.

So – what are the benefits of being an NASW student member?  What does student membership really look like? “Well, you can be as highly involved or as little as you want for the year,” Rachel says. NASW offers various trainings and conferences throughout the year for members to participate in – events that offer the chance to hear from different clinicians or researchers or even professionals outside of the social work field but with relevant information to share. There are opportunities such as Advocacy Day or participation in legislation updates, where members can work together to try to get new legislature passed, draft communication to senators, etc. These opportunities allow students to be knowledgeable and stay up-to-date on policy within the field, which Rachel feels is essential to all social workers, clinicians or otherwise. Members also have access to the online journal and can read what fellow students in the field have to say, and contributing to the journal is always a great resume-builder as well.

Rachel’s involvement in the NASW-IL chapter has helped her to develop her leadership skills and passion for policy and advocating. “It’s helped me understand my role as a social worker. You can’t just have one clinical role; it requires far beyond that. You need to know policy; you need to know research. You need to be involved in these things. [My work with NASW] has helped fuel that passion – it’s exciting!”

Join Rachel and fellow NASW-IL student members (from Loyola’s SSW and other schools!) tomorrow night at Fado’s for Student Bar Night. Hope to see you there!

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