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Dorothy Ma — Gaining New Skills in the Field

MSW student Dorothy Ma’s field placement is with the Washtenaw County Office of Public Defender, where she works under the supervision of Brittney Williams, MSW ‘17. Williams is the first public defender social worker hired in the office’s near 50-year history, and leads the Assessment, Intervention & Mitigation Division.  

Ma has conducted research, learned how to independently write mitigation assessments and created a comprehensive county-wide resource guide for attorneys to use with clients.  Ma also created a new logo for the Office of Public Defender.  “Dorothy has made invaluable contributions to the work we do with our clients, and has been a part of several cases where sentencing outcomes for defendants changed substantially because of our mitigation work,” said Williams. 

Ma’s pathway is in Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health & Substance Abuse.  “I am learning so much about the legal sphere,” said Ma. “It is really exciting to gain experience in an entirely new field and I feel like I have experienced a lot of personal growth by working with these clients.” 


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