Clara Wille, MSW '15
After earning her undergraduate degree in International Studies, Clara Wille joined AmeriCorps, spending two years working in New York City. In her first year, she served as a near-peer mentor to students in an underperforming elementary school for City Year New York, an organization committed to narrowing the gap between what students need to succeed and what schools and teachers can provide. Her second year was spent coaching youths at Row New York, a group that empowers young people from the city’s most under-resourced communities through the sport of rowing. It was Wille’s AmeriCorps experience that was the tipping point in her decision to pursue an MSW.
“I spent the majority of my time in New York advocating for students with teachers and providing emotional support to kids who were experiencing depression or significant trauma in their lives,” said Wille. “There is such a huge need for social workers in these settings who can provide therapy and crisis intervention. If we can help children through these kinds of issues to achieve their goals, they have so much to contribute to their communities. I wanted to make a bigger impact and provide a higher level of intervention than I was capable of at that time. That’s what motivated me to go back to school.”
I worked in under resourced communities in NYC for two years advocating for students and providing emotional support. I wanted to make a bigger impact and provide a higher level of intervention. That’s what motivated me to get my MSW.
External “big picture” factors such as poverty, malnutrition, and exposure to violence have a tremendous impact on the outcome of social work, says Wille. She’s pursuing a dual degree MSW and MPH because she wants to design mental and physical health interventions that will impact the larger scale issues as well as the interpersonal needs. Without both, says Wille, intervention won’t be effective.
Wille was awarded several scholarships through the School of Social Work, including the Dean’s Scholarship and the Donor’s Award.
“The scholarships were really the deciding factor for me because I am an out-of-state student and could never have afforded the tuition. The funding made it possible, and I’m just so happy to be here.”