Lauren Daily: Building a Career Helping Children
In the spring of 2016, a series of alumni profiles were written for Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
Since she was in middle school, Lauren Daily, MSS ’17, knew she wanted a career working with kids. First she thought teacher, then pediatrician. As a junior at the University of Colorado, she shadowed a social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Denver.
“It was my ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Daily said. “I saw how you could be a resource and a stable force for the patients and how helping people on an individual level could start such a positive change in their lives – it was what drew me to the social work profession.”
In searching for the best graduate programs in social work, Daily, a Colorado native, came across Bryn Mawr. She liked Bryn Mawr’s long history, relationships in the community and reputation. But she wasn’t sure about moving all the way across the country.
“Once I was accepted, the admissions office set up a visit to campus for me,” she said. “I went on a campus tour, met with field officers, got to talk with faculty members and current students and attended an admitted students reception. They mapped out this whole visit for me, and I got to see what being a student in the program would be like.”
Daily decided to enroll soon after returning from the visit.
Now finished with her first year in the two-year program, Daily has found a welcoming community at Bryn Mawr, one that has given her a well-rounded education and real-world exposure to the social work profession.
“My classmates, who range in age from 21 to 59, bring a lot to the table,” Daily said. “Not only am I getting diversity in terms of ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation, but also a range of experience levels and perspectives, which makes everything that much more enriching.”
Daily has gained direct exposure to the profession through her field education placement this year. Working in a Title 1 K-8 elementary school for the School District of Philadelphia, Daily has provided support to students, parents and staff while being able to put some of the skills she’s learning in class into practice.
Throughout the year, she’s led social skills groups with children – taking turns, problem solving, anger management – and also has met individually with students to address life changes, attendance and truancy and behavioral issues.
Next year, Daily will continue her work with a youth population in a field placement with Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE
“This first year has been incredibly eye-opening and affirming in terms of wanting to continue to work with children,” Daily said. “To see it first-hand – maybe a child is living in poverty, eating meals at school, coming in with the same dirty clothes on every day, but ready to learn. The resiliency of kids is a big take-away for me, and it makes me want to continue to help connect them with resources and provide that safe haven.”
Photo credit: Bryn Mawr College