New Faculty Shares Early Inspirations for Social Work Path (and the Album She Has on Repeat)Monday, Nov 06, 2023
After working as an adjunct instructor since 2014, Withney Bichotte-Germain, MSW, LCSW, is in her first semester as a full-time instructor with the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work. She is a dual alumna, having earned both her BSW and MSW degrees from Florida Atlantic University. We sat down with Bichotte-Germain to learn more about her career thus far and what led her to social work.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
In elementary, I wanted to be a pediatrician. Then in High school, I wanted to be a psychologist. I have always wanted to be in a helping profession.
When did you know you wanted to become a social worker?
During my first year at Florida Atlantic, I took the major KnOWLedge assessment, and social work was listed as one of the top careers based on my interests. I decided to take my first social work elective the following semester and made the decision to change my major for the third time. Social work had all the things that I wanted in a career.
What's something most people don't know about social work?
I think when people think of social work, they think of child welfare, but social work is so much more than child welfare. Social workers work in different settings such as hospice, hospitals, schools, prisons, and numerous public and private agencies. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) hold the highest level of licensure in the social work profession. LCSWs are skilled mental health professionals who are allowed to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals and families.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love being able to engage with students and being able to share my experiences with them. I also love that I can be a mentor to our students.
What makes the Sandler School of Social Work so special?
The School of Social Work is so special to me. I am honored to have experienced being a student in the BSW and MSW program. As a student, I felt supported by the faculty and felt prepared to be out in the field. As an instructor, I provide the same support and mentorship to my students.
What social issues mean the most to you and why?
I would say child welfare and poverty are two of the primary social issues that mean the most to me. Too many people do not have their basic needs met, and I think addressing the issues of poverty can prevent some other social issues. Also, maltreatment has long-term effects, and adults who were physically abused as children are more likely to be living in poverty.
What's been the most rewarding moment of your career thus far?
I have had a few rewarding movements in my career, and I will share two with you. I used to work for the Broward Sheriff’s Office as a Child Protective Investigator. I remember little black girls being amazed with my natural hair, and I would share my hair routine with them and their parents. I could see the joy in their faces, and that would bring me so much joy that something so simple meant so much to them. Another rewarding moment for me would be walking into the classroom as a new instructor and students being confused when I introduced myself as the instructor. Then, they all start to ask me questions about the field and my journey to being a licensed social worker.
What song in your music library gets the most streams?
I am a big of fan Haitian music and currently have my favorite band (VAYB’s) newest album on repeat.
What travel destination tops your bucket list?
I have visited a few different places, but Haiti will always be on top. I just feel at home and at peace.
If you could do college over again, what would you do differently?
Honestly, I would have taken my time to finish. I feel like I worked hard to graduate early and did not take the time to enjoy myself and explore other hobbies.