In mid-June 2018, Samantha Seligman, BS ’17, MSW '18, the immediate past president of the School’s chapter of the Phi Alpha Honor Society, started her first post-MSW job as a Social Worker in the Care Management Program at Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS). One month after she started her new position, we caught up with Samantha over Amorino gelato.
What do you do in your job?
I am a care coordinator for adults on Medicaid who suffer from chronic medical and behavioral conditions. My program is actually in the process of transitioning to what is known as a “Health Home Plus,” which provides even more intensive care management to adults with Serious Mental Illness and other indicators of high need such as homelessness, multiple hospitalizations, and criminal justice involvement.
I connect my clients to doctors and mental health providers, give them appointment reminders, help them access housing services, SNAP, SSI, and many other forms of assistance – basically I am the root connection to all of their resources. I provide counseling as well; my clients need support in their lives.
I see each of them at least twice a month, either where they live or in my office, and I check in with them on the phone at least twice a month too. The rest of time, I am reaching out to agencies and providers and doing paperwork to make sure my clients get the care and services they need.
How did you get your job?
Although I took advantage of the career counseling services at the Wasserman Center and had them review my resume, I didn’t focus on my job search until I graduated. After convocation, I went on ZipRecuiter and Indeed and started applying for positions. I ended up going on interviews every day, sometimes two a day, for three weeks after I graduated. Although CUCS was the second agency to call me, my interview didn’t take place until a couple of weeks later so by then I’d had lots of practice. I also had a lot of relevant information and experience to draw on from my field placement at LESC. It helped too that I had great references from my practice instructor, Kelsey Louie, and my LESC program director, Catherine Montefiore, both of whom are NYU Silver alumni as well!
How did NYU Silver prepare you for the position?
Thanks to my classes, I have a firm grasp of the theories and techniques in terms of how I work with clients, and my field placements prepared me for the work environment and how the administrative and clinical social work processes really function. I also benefited from being in the Substance Abuse Focused Learning Opportunity since many of my clients have challenges with substance abuse as well. One of the most important things I learned at NYU is empathy. I have found that being able to understand and empathize with my clients is the key to being able to connect with and help them.
What is the most rewarding part of the job?
I get to help people. Even if it is small ways, it is gratifying. For example, I learned recently about MAS Transportation Service, which provides Medicaid recipients free rides to their medical and mental health care appointments. Even booking a client a ride to come see me or to go to a doctor's appointment, I feel that I am helping to better their lives because they are suffering so much.
What is the most surprising part of the job?
Probably the most surprising thing is how much housing is involved and how complicated it is to secure. Many of my clients are homeless and they have no direct access to housing; they have to go through a complex and rigorous process. What I am learning to do right now is connect clients with experts in completing 2010e supportive housing applications and then help them with follow up.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am not sure exactly what I will be doing – I am just trying to see where life takes me. I am just glad that I am in social work, helping others as much as possible.