Breaking barriers: UW-Green Bay’s Master of Social Work Program

See ViXai Thao is a UW-Green Bay graduate of the Master of Social Work program with a school social work emphasis. He is a refugee and grew up with barriers and prejudice. Now as a school counselor, he helps students face and overcome their challenges.

Video Transcript: Being a refugee, growing up in a household where English was not the first language. I got to live the experience of having those barriers and knowing that my struggles helped me grew as a person. I wanted to do the same for people. I wanted them to overcome their barriers and know that they too can be successful regardless of whatever is thrown at them. In order to be a successful social worker where some of our values include advocacy, diversity and Equity, promoting the well-being of human life. And as a person who loves helping others, advocacy and diversity and inclusion were all things that really stood out to me. So, I chose to attend UW-Green Bay and pursue their Masters in Social Work because I was a former graduate of UW-Green Bay as an undergrad. And knowing what type of learning environment I was going to get and also the attention that I was getting from the professors, who focused on me as a student. That was something that I knew already firsthand and I wanted that same experience. So, my favorite core classes in the Social Work program, is definitely our skills classes and during that time we get to observe our classmates and ourselves through a two-way mirror window and we get to practice our interviewing skills, our critiquing skills, and also our skills in solving solutions and providing solutions for our clients. And lastly, my field and summer classes, have been the best. Field placements in the Social Work program allows us to go into the community and we get to practice our skills with the populations that we want to work with. So, for myself being a School Social Worker, I got to work with youth who are in juvenile detention, homeless and also youth who just needed that extra person to be there, to be their support. My professors are inspirational leaders of the social work profession. Many of them come from diverse areas of practice and so they bring that area in and they get to train us on their specialties and experiences and we get to learn from them which then helps us apply it into the community. I am Phoenix proud because UW-Green Bay believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

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