Jennifer Pielak

Service Is My Ambrosian Value

Master of Social Work, Class of 2018

"At St. Ambrose, the MSW is an empowerment-level program, so it gets you thinking about people’s strengths and abilities, and how you can help them realize those and grow. It is a great starting point for me, for our clients, and for working in all levels of social work."

Jennifer serves clients from a variety of backgrounds and she appreciates listening, and learning from each of them. Most of all, she enjoys empowering them to create change in their own lives. Jennifer discovered her strengths, and path, in our MSW program. Today, she uses her education to help her clients do the same.


Jennifer wanted to build on a former career with the California Department of Children and Family Services and enrolled in our MSW program. She expanded her skills and confidence in our classrooms and during field placements at a residential facility, inpatient psychiatric unit, mental health court and in community outreach. Today she is an adult clinical therapist at Transitions Mental Health Services, in Moline, Ill.


Can you assess the value of your SAU education?

"Without an MSW I could not be a clinical therapist, so it is very valuable. It also allowed me to feel confident and powerful at a time in my life when I did not. Achieving that was invaluable to me." We give our students the support, knowledge and opportunities to create transformational change in the world, and their own lives, too.

Master of Social Work

What did you learn in the program that surprised you?

"Confidence. Throughout the program, the professors are really supportive. It is an empowerment program and they use it on the students, too. It is nice to hear you are doing something well," she says. SAU established the first MSW program with an empowerment specialization in the U.S. and we've educated, and supported more than 500 students who are now actively helping individuals, families, communities, and society.

Empowerment Method

How do you carry forward the SAU mission of enriching lives?

"I work in community mental health and we absolutely believe in the value of people, empowering them and helping them to reach their highest level of functioning," she says. A good social worker sees the intrinsic value of each person and amplifies the impact they can have on their lives and the world. At SAU, that is what we do, too.

Video: Our students tell you more


Do you recommend the MSW program?


"I recommend it to anyone who talks about it or questions it," she said. Our MSW is nationally accredited by CSWE and on the cutting edge of modern social work practice, yet remains firmly rooted in knowledge and advocacy. "It's a program that really works with you. The professors are amazing, and they strive to make you comfortable and bring out your best," she says.

SAU Video: Jennifer Pielak

So, what's next?

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