Erikson social work graduate lands prestigious Yale fellowship

Hannah Bowen, MSW ’18, got the news in the middle of class

Hannah Bowen was in Ashley Curry’s class when she got the call. She didn’t answer right away, but Dr. Curry probably would have forgiven Bowen if she had. Bowen, MSW ’18, was about to learn she had been accepted for a prestigious fellowship at the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center.

“I noticed that I missed a call from New Haven and also knew that [Yale] only called the applicants they were offering a position to. I ran out into the hallway and called the director, Karyn Bailey, back. She extended the invitation to be a fellow and I accepted on the spot,” Bowen says. “Afterward, jumping up and down with tears flowing, I quickly called my parents and grandmother before going back to class for the remainder of the day.”

Yale’s post-MSW Fellowship in Advanced Clinical Social Work provides advanced training for social workers who want to become leaders in the field. Erikson graduate Lauren Naset Dennehy, MS ’07, Loyola MSW ’08, is an assistant clinical professor (social work) in Yale’s Child Study Center.

“Erikson’s foundation of self-reflection, of child development in a cultural context, and of multidisciplinary collaboration provides a solid foundation for folks to come to the Child Study Center and deepen their clinical practice,” Dennehy says. “It is easy to teach clinical practice skills when someone is able to use and know themselves carefully and to have a solid foundation that is sound and open and culturally sensitive.”

Bowen, who grew up in Farmer City, a small town in central Illinois, graduated from Illinois Wesleyan with an Interdisciplinary Educational Studies degree, concentrating on children and families. Bowen initially wanted to pursue a career in child life, working with children in medical settings. That’s what led her to Erikson Institute.

“Erikson Institute was a school that came up immediately,” Bowen says. “I started in the child development program and saw myself using … the same concepts behind the child life profession but could not see myself working in a hospital.”

With child life out of the picture, Bowen turned to Erikson’s social work program. It was the “niche I was looking for all along,” she says. Bowen, who graduated in May, eventually learned of the Yale fellowship through Margaret Brett, AM, LCSW, Erikson’s director of field Instruction and Career Services. Erikson’s integration of child development across the social work curriculum, along with the school’s emphasis on reflective practice, separated Bowen from others who had applied for the fellowship, she says.

“The deep child development, family systems, and strength-based perspectives are applied in every class, and this knowledge is mobilized further in our internship experiences,” she says. “The self-awareness that … reflection fosters helps not only in practice, but is a valuable tool that employers, agencies, and those in academia look for in social workers especially.”

Find out more about our Master of Social Work here.