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MSU’s Level UP Program provides mini-conference for social work students

As a part of Morehead State University's Level UP Program, students in the Social Work 326 course engaged in hands-on experience as part of their practicum, where they apply what they are learning in the classroom at employer sites.   

A Level UP grant allowed students to attend a mini-conference outside their regular classroom environment. The event focused on guest speakers from the Morehead region sharing their experiences as professionals practicing social work in a rural area. They networked with Paul Semisch, Gateway Homeless Coalition; Allie Heaton, Pathways, Inc.; Amanda Skaggs, St. Claire HealthCare; and Jennifer Schworm and Chelsea Lewis, Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services.  

"The Level UP program has really helped me to focus on the career skill of professionalism with our social work students," said Rebecca Davison, instructor of social work at MSU. "The students gain specific experience through their practicums in the field, but this mini-conference has brought a broader focus to what it means to be a professional in the field of social work and apply a standard of excellence, integrity and sense of self. It is rewarding to see students make connections between social work concepts discussed in the classroom and the reality of the day-to-day work of professional social work practice."   

"Hearing from professionals in the field of social work helped me to see exactly what I will be doing," said Lydia Farmer, a senior social work major from Winchester. "My hands-on practicum has taught me that classwork is different from fieldwork. Having to dress business casual and practice asking questions in a professional way at this mini-conference has really allowed me to work on developing my professional communication skills. I feel confident beginning my career."  

The grant also supports students traveling to Lexington to visit employer sites, showing the contrasting macro-level issues in a rural area with those in an urban area.  

Megan Boone, interim director for MSU's Center for Career Development and Experiential Education, said Level UP classes and activities set students up for future success.  

"This is the goal of the Level UP Program: Students focusing on career success throughout their academic career and having the opportunity to apply knowledge from their major to career-oriented situations," Boone said.   

Level UP is an initiative to ensure students can engage in experiences to prepare them for success, including undergraduate research, education abroad, service learning and internships. It includes courses that build students' communication, professionalism, critical thinking and teamwork skills. Level UP further focuses on training students to convey evidence of these career skills that are highly desirable to employers across disciplines.     

To learn more about the Level UP Program at MSU, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Education & Student Success at or visit  

Photo: Students from the Level UP class Social Work 326 participated in a mini-conference where they learned about professionalism in the field and networked with working professionals.