GSS Field Internship Stories

a photo of student eve pollack standing on a ralroad track and smiling.

‘Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable’: MSW Student Turns New Field Internship Experience into New Job

Eve Pollack, GSS ‘23, has been completing her MSW specialist year field education internship at S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth—a youth, family, and community development organization specializing in youth and gang violence prevention and intervention located in Uniondale, NY. This was a new experience for Pollack, who has typically worked with the special needs population since she was in sixth grade, including her first-year internship at GSS. However, in that first internship, her supervisor told her that change is a good thing. 

“Going into my specialist year, I thought, maybe I’ll stick with the school that I’ve been interning at,” Pollack said. “And my supervisor there said, Don’t do that. We love you, but try something new. Get out of your comfort zone.”

The advice paid off. Because of the successful internship experience thus far, S.T.R.O.N.G. offered Pollack a permanent part-time position with the organization after she graduates this May. 

“I definitely feel like a stronger social worker since I’ve been at S.T.R.O.N.G.,” Pollack said. “It’s been a great experience.”

Read more about Eve's story on the GSS blog.


maddox emerick. he is wearing a blue collared shirt with a white shirt underneath. the background is green.

Creating Your Own Path: How an MSW Degree Opened Doors for Maddox Emerick, GSS ’23

Like many of us, Maddox Emerick’s life was shifted in the spring of 2020, when the world came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Worldwide lockdowns kept Emerick—a trained performer since his time as an undergraduate theater major—off the stage and wondering what came next. 

“I’d always had social work in the back of my mind, and I thought, this is the world encouraging me to think about it more,” Emerick said. “I’d been exposed to clinical social work, and also some other types of case management, while I was growing up. And I’d always been told, ‘You’d make a great therapist.’

So, in what Emerick called a ‘definitive transition point’ in his life, he chose to pivot away from theater and into a career of social work. The first stop: a Master of Social Work (MSW) program

While researching MSW programs, Emerick said Fordham gave him the flexibility he needed to tailor the coursework to his interests.

“At Fordham, especially in your last semester, there is a lot of flexibility and autonomy in course selection,” he said. “I wanted to be able to explore my education in my own way.”

Read more about Maddox's story on the GSS blog.


headshots of  Akila Thomas and Jennifer Dutan. akila is wearing a red shirt and jennifer a grey one. the background of the photo is maroon, with the logos for the NYC Mayor's office of resiliency, and the nyc mayor's office of immigrant affairs between them.

Two GSS Students Find New Paths in the NYC Mayor’s Office

Social workers need to be flexible. In this profession, there are many different paths.

You could work as a clinician or a policy-maker, in a government office or a local foster home. As a social worker, you play a critical role in whatever route you choose.

But picking a trajectory can be difficult, even when you’re already committed to graduate school. This is where field placement can serve as a vehicle to show you your options — even some you may not have thought possible.

When Akila Thomas and Jennifer Dutan, two MSW students at GSS, signed up for field placements this year, they didn’t know they’d wind up in the New York City Mayor’s Office. Neither of them had experience in government. But like any good social workers, the two adapted in real-time.

“That’s the great thing about social work,” Dutan said. “It’s so diverse.”

Read more about Akila and Jennifer's stories on the GSS blog.


two students meet on zoom for the fordham news interview. this is a screenshot of them in the zoom meeting. they both hold their dogs up for the camera.

Social Work Students Define Remote Care

Though the COVID-19 crisis forced people to stay home, leadership at the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) recognized that important social services would need to be remotely administered even under quarantine. Families would still need counseling, children with special needs would still need schooling, and,  older adults would still need support. Recognizing this new reality, the school responded swiftly.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched the GSS community in unprecedented ways,” said Debra M. McPhee, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Social Service. “Very quickly, the school faced new and complex challenges in both logistics and communication. Yet the whole team, including faculty, pulled together to develop the means and opportunity for GSS students to continue remotely with both their studies and their fieldwork.”

Read the entire story on the GSS blog.