Alyssa Hermes (’18)

Indiana-based Alyssa Hermes brings her interest for the child welfare system and experience with social work agencies to the Online MSW Program.

Alyssa HermesWhen Alyssa Hermes (‘18) first graduated from Arizona State University, a career in social work wasn’t on her radar. However, after chancing upon work experience with social work agencies, Hermes discovered her path towards a future in the child welfare system.

While at Arizona State University, Hermes majored in psychology and family/human development, with the hopes of becoming a therapist or counselor. While working with agencies focused on families and children involved in the child welfare system, she realized that social work is an umbrella for the entire field she was interested in. “I started thinking that that’s the route to take. I needed to get my Master of Social Work degree. To do the kind of work I was interested in, I needed the broad perspective—encompassing the biological, psychological, and social aspects of the human experience that social work provides,” she said.

Hermes’ first experience with an online course was during her time at Arizona State, but she felt that the Live Classroom experience offered at BUSSW helped her learn more from her peers. She chose the online program due to geographical constraints, and BUSSW fit her criteria of an accredited program with the flexibility she needed. When discussing her passions in the field, Hermes says, “I enjoy learning about people’s families and am interested in working with families and children. Family plays a huge role in everyone’s functioning, and it’s so important in understanding people better. 

Hermes completed her field internship at The Villages of Indiana—a large state nonprofit that manages foster care and adoption—where she also works as a therapeutic foster care case manager. As an intern, she performed a variety of tasks, including planning a therapeutic curriculum for foster parents, completing home studies, educating and presenting to clientele, and providing support within the Community Based Services Program. She has learned a multitude of things from both her classroom and field experiences, but Hermes believes each thing she’s learned can be applied somewhere—specifically in relation to interventions and what works best for what personality. Being able to directly apply that knowledge—the combination of learning and doing—has helped her tremendously. 

As a student and working professional, balancing school and your personal life can be challenging, but Hermes ensures she makes time for self care. She says, “I plan a day every week to take care of myself—I enjoy exercising, the occasional Netflix binge, catching up with friends and family, or going to sporting events. We also travel a lot.”

Before coming into this program Hermes says she didn’t realize she had the capacity to learn like she has. “Ironically, one of my most challenging courses, Research 2 with professor Melissa Hirschi, was one of my favorites. Hirschi made the course so applicable and informative.” To future social work students, she says, “Be prepared to work. Come into this program open-minded and open to challenging yourself.”