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Social work

Race Discussion in the Classroom

By Terri Pugh & jamese preston

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Terri Pugh is a second-year Master of Social Work candidate at Millersville University. She is in her final semester of the Master of Social Work program and graduates in May of this year. She is a Social Work Masters Intern at the Lebanon VA Medical Center, working with homeless Veteran’s. She has previous experience working in behavioral health and mental health case management. Terri’s social work areas of interest include Veteran care, homelessness, mental health, social justice, diversity, and inclusivity. This independent research study seeks to examine Black social work students’ comfortability and perceived emotional safety when discussing race in the social work classroom. The themes of this study can potentially provide insight on inclusion and best practices in order to better prepare students for working with a diverse population in the social work field. 

Jamese Preston is a second year Master of Social Work candidate at Millersville University. She is employed as a Family Support Specialist and has experience working with adolescents, families, mental health, and trauma. Jamese’s areas of interest include diversity, trauma, racial healing, and mental health. She conducted this research as an independent study. Her research analyzes the feeling of safety and comfortability Black BASW and MSW students experience while being present for and engaging in discussions regarding race in the classroom. Jamese hopes that the data collected in her study can be utilized to create a change in classroom dynamics and bring attention to the factors that may negatively impact the learning environment for students of color.

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