Alyssa Lyons, MSW 2020

Alyssa Lyons
When did you decide to pursue a degree in social work?
I chose to pursue a career in social work the summer after my freshman year of college. I job shadowed a social worker who worked with individuals with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. I was majoring in Anthropology because of my interests in human experiences and knowing I wanted to help people. Job shadowing allowed me to see how applicable Anthropology is to Social Work and I immediately knew I wanted to pursue an MSW after graduation.
Why did you choose social work? MSU?
I chose social work because of my desire to help people with similar life experiences that my family and I have faced. I can never change my past experiences, but I can make sure that people with similar experiences to mine have someone advocating for them and helping them. I see so many injustices in society and I want my work to assist people facing injustice and difficult life experiences. I chose MSU because I am from Jackson, MI and appreciated how close to home such an incredible university is.
Have you had a job or internship that has had a strong impact on you?
I've spent the last two years volunteering at group music therapy classes for individuals with developmental disabilities. I am very passionate about working with this population. Working with people with developmental disabilities has taught me about the importance of inclusion and celebrating people's unique abilities instead of focusing solely on their disability. I've learned so much about what individuals with disabilities can accomplish if given the chance to actively participate in society.
What is your ideal job upon graduation with a degree in Social Work?
My ideal job upon graduation with my MSW is to work with individuals and families in a healthcare setting, specifically individuals with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I am interested in working in hospice and palliative care. I want to be someone who families can look to for support during difficult experiences.
Alyssa Lyons
What has been your favorite class? Why?
My favorite class has been SW 492 taught by Edita Milanovic and Carolyn Sutherby. The class was taught at the Cooper Street Correctional Facility in Jackson, MI. I was passionate about prison reform prior to this class, but taking this class really opened up my eyes to the injustices vulnerable people in our society face in the criminal justice system. Each week during the semester, we spent three hours interacting with twelve inmates in the prison while analyzing social policies in mental health, substance abuse and immigration. This experience was absolutely life-changing and taught me so much about being a better advocate and listener. I wish everyone had the chance to take this class.