Simpson Kamugisha, MSW - 2018
When did you decide to pursue a degree in social work?
I decided to pursue a social work degree when I realized the high level of domestic violence in our communities in Uganda. I was sure that a social work degree will help me advocate for the oppressed and vulnerable.
Why did you choose social work? MSU?
I chose social work because I want to fight against domestic violence in my home country of Uganda. I believe I have good interpersonal skills, but I needed professional social work skills to help me implement a programme of domestic violence prevention education. I chose MSU MSW and the community leadership degree based on the reputation of previous graduates.
Have you had experiences outside of the US that have impacted your life and decisions to pursue a degree in social work?
Yes, I was brought up in an abusive environment. I want to turn my negative experiences into positive outcomes and implement change for the better future of our country.
What is your dream job upon graduation with a degree in Social Work?
My dream job is advocacy and domestic violence prevention education.
Have you received any awards/scholarships that you are particularly proud of?
I have received a MasterCard Foundation Scholarship and a research grant that I am very proud of.
Do you have any advice for others considering social work?
Social work is a service to others. Whoever wants to be a social worker must be open to helping all people and willing to deal with a diversity of cultures.
Do you have any advice for students currently enrolled in a social work program?
My advise to students who are currently enrolled in a social work program is that they should be positive role models. As well as being an academic subject, social work involves personal commitment, good ethics and an open mind.
Have you had an internship that has had a strong impact on you?
I have had a chance to conduct a research focusing on prevention education in reducing spousal abuse in Uganda. I have also been mentoring young people in orphanages which is very impactful to me and our community. You can watch in this video.
If you’ve already worked in the field, are there any particular events or situations that have had a strong impact on you?
Interviewing people using audio recorders has made me connect with people at a deeper level. When I listen and translate the recordings to enter the data I have collected, I remember the face of every person I have interviewed. I have also filmed videos that are educative to our society. These make me proud of my interpersonal skills.
Have any instructors had a particularly strong impact on you?
Yes, Dr. Sacha Klein advocated for me to have a writing tutor. I look up to Dr. Carrie Moylan as a role model because she has done a lot of work in areas that I really want to learn about, and she has been my research supervisor. I finally, appreciated Tina’s work with veterans.
Has anyone in Social Work outside of MSU had a particularly strong impact on you?
My mentor Dave Knaggs has helped me to learn American culture and has been a good support to me.
What do you believe makes a successful social work program?
Understanding human behaviors, and learning how to intervene with a strong commitment makes a successful social work program.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your academic career at MSU?
Writing and winter have been the most challenging aspects for me.
Do you have a favorite quote about social work or something else?
“You should not abuse a child because they might not forget the pain you caused them and you cannot undo that pain.” by Simpson Kamugisha.
What has been your favorite class? Why?
Social work 841 has been my favorite because we could use role plays and social work intervention which is reflected in my current films about violence prevention.
Has the academic support system at MSU helped you?
The academic support has been important to me as an international student. Here, I am able to use all the resources on campus including the writing center and counseling services. Fellow students are willing to help when I ask, and all professors are friendly and willing to help.
If you came to MSU from another country, what brought you to MSU? How is social work in the U.S. different or alike from social work in your home country?
I joined MSU in order to be a creative social worker based on the notion of being a Spartan. Social work in the U.S is very strong when it comes to fighting against broken systems, unlike in my country Uganda.