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Alumni Spotlight - Ashley Ertel

Image of alumni Ashley Artel [View Image]

Ashley Ertel is a May 2012 graduate of the Masters of Social Work program in the VCU School of Social Work.  Ashley's focus was on clinical social work.  We asked Ashley a few questions about her time at VCU.

Describe your career path and current occupation.

“Post-graduation, I worked in the PA foster care system as the sole licensed provider for the county. About 2 years’ post-graduation, I was commissioned as an officer into the United States Air Force as a Clinical Social Worker. I earned my LCSW in 2015 and have held a number of positions to include: Family Advocacy Officer, Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program Manager, Disaster Mental Health Team Chief, and Director of Psychological Health.”           

How did you become interested in this field?

“Honestly, I have always been drawn to problem solving. Getting my MSW and practicing clinical social work has only served to help me master my problem solving skills.”      

What do you like best about the type of work you do?

“I love improving the military mental health system!”    

What was most memorable about your experiences in your VCU graduate program?

“Surprisingly, my macro classes are the most memorable. While they were not my "track," I feel like I saw the most educational growth/development in them. Dr. Mary Katherine O'Connor was my professor and continues to be a wonderful mentor to me now that I am in the "real world”."       

What advice would you give current and prospective students about pursuing a graduate degree at VCU?

“Dive in! Take advantage of all opportunities, even the ones that seem mundane or less interesting. Get to know your professors and professional colleagues. Network, network, network!”

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