Helping students find their unique strengths for social work field education

Carolyn Tredinnick And Hannah Eppley standing together at a field education event
Carolyn Tredinnick and Hannah Eppley are the School of Social Work’s new graduate field education coordinators. They help MSW students put lesson plans into clinical practice in communities.

This year, Carolyn Treddinick and Hannah Eppley both joined Colorado State University’s School of Social Work as graduate field education program coordinators. Learn more about why they came to CSU, their professional interests, and how they envision social work student successes.

What brought you to the School of Social Work at Colorado State University?

Carolyn Tredinnick
Carolyn Tredinnick

Carolyn Tredinnick: I have always enjoyed school and learning. After completing my MSW at CSU I felt the need to go out into the field and put into practice what I had learned. After working in the field of social work for eight years I wanted to re-engage with the School of Social Work. Field Education is where our future social workers put into practice what they spend so much time learning in the classroom, and I have a desire to support students in that process. In addition, there is a rich culture of sharing knowledge and encouraging professional growth, to benefit our students, within the School of Social Work. This is unique from other areas within social work and something that I value.

Hannah Eppley: As a program alum, the CSU School of Social Work has always held a special place in my heart and history. Initially, when I found the School of Social Work at CSU it was as an undergraduate, desiring to help and serve my community, excited to learn that social work seemed like best path forward. I continued on to earn my MSW from this program, and then I ventured out into the community to support others as they worked to overcome challenges and cultivate their own well-being and resilience. After several years working in the non-profit and child welfare sectors here in Larimer County, I found my way back to CSU. I loved my role as a field instructor, supervising and supporting social work interns in the various positions I held in the community, so when the position on the Field Team opened it was a natural and exciting next step for me to return to my alma mater.

What are your professional interests and how did you become interested in that topic(s)?

Carolyn Tredinnick: My professional interests include the topic of resilience and the ability of some humans to move through adversity and thrive. I have witnessed adversity and trauma in a variety of settings personally and professionally which has informed that interest. In addition, I am interested in end of life care and the challenges presented within the medical setting around goals of care and quality of life. I became interested in this topic working within a hospital and witnessing both the positive experiences people can have with hospice care, and the potential for unexpected positive outcomes when a person chooses treatment/continued care.  The Grand Challenge of Social Work I most align with is Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality, having witnessed how access to fiscal resources continues to be divisive within the local and global community and continues to create disparities within our society.

Hannah Eppley
Hannah Eppley

Hannah Eppley: One of the things that I love about the field of social work is the variety of experiences and opportunities that arise through practice. Generally, my interests and passions have been centered around youth and families. Working in the non-profit sector, I further developed interests in familial protective factors, community building and collaboration, and managing teams in a way that promotes resilience and longevity. During my work with Larimer County, I found that I am passionate about advocacy for adolescents and their specific needs, vulnerabilities, and unique strengths and identities. I often found myself advocating for youth in court, which led me to do additional learning about the justice system in this country and the significant need for reform. I was fortunate to work with, build relationships with, and learn from a number of amazing teenagers during my time as a caseworker. These relationships and experiences also deepened my interest in trauma-informed practice and resilience. My work in child welfare also spurred a deep interest in vicarious trauma and worker resilience, which recently led me to complete my yoga teacher certification as one tool to help support others in this or similar fields who are striving to maintain resilience and self-care practices.

What’s your philosophy for connecting with students and motivating student success?

Carolyn Tredinnick: My work philosophy is to be authentic in my interactions with others. Being authentic includes being inquisitive and asking questions of students where they can discover things about themselves and the world around them that they were unaware of previously. I am a lifelong learner and look forward to my philosophy evolving as I am exposed to new ideas and research.

Hannah Eppley: My philosophy for working with students at CSU is the same philosophy I’ve utilized throughout my social work practice. I believe that all students have unique strengths and interests, and I believe that they will be most successful when there is space to incorporate those strengths into their learning experiences and education. I also believe that self-determination plays a vital role in successful achievement of goals. I recognize that every student enters and moves through their education differently. I hope to meet each student wherever they might be at and support them as they cultivate their social work knowledge and skills.

What’s your favorite thing about campus so far?

Carolyn Tredinnick: My favorite thing about campus is the energy from students, staff and faculty. It is an uplifting and happy place to be.

Hannah Eppley: There are so many things I enjoy about this campus, but I think my favorite so far has been the people. I have been warmly welcomed to the university, and there has been room for me to share my unique thoughts and voice. This makes me feel excited about what’s ahead and for the opportunity to continue growing, sharing, advocating, and learning in this space.

About the School of Social Work

Since the first baccalaureate social work major was first offered in 1968, Colorado State University’s School of Social Work has made a continuous effort to develop and maintain a program that is responsive to the standards of the social work profession, to the needs of human services agencies and clients in the state, and to the land-grant mission and goals of CSU. Our mission is to provide exemplary education, applied research, and transformative outreach to advance social, environmental, and economic justice; promote equity and equality; alleviate oppression; and enhance human health and well-being across local and global community systems.

The School of Social Work is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.