The University of Georgia
Frye, Rebecca

UGA's Amazing Students

Rebecca Frye

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December 13, 2009

A part-time Master’s of Social Work student at the University of Georgia Gwinnett campus, Frye returned to the classroom after working in the human resources field for 10 years. Her experiences with leadership training, diversity outreach and community involvement in the human resources field created a solid foundation for her new interest in a career in social work. As an MSW student, Frye’s main interest has been in developing new ways for the field of social work to be more connected, efficient and informative through the use of technology. She combined that interest along with her desire to serve American veterans to create a Web-based, centralized location for agency and community resources that simplifies the process of connecting clients with the resource that will best suit their needs. Another of Frye’s focuses has been on a specific at-risk population—gays and lesbians. After completing an independent research study on the impact of religion and spiritual on the addiction issues of gays and lesbians, Frye was invited to present her findings at the 2008 Institute for Women’s Studies Student Symposium at the University of Georgia Student Learning Center.

Expected graduation:

Spring 2009

Degree objective:

Master of Social Work

University highlights, achievements and awards:

In order to help the field of social work become more connected and efficient, I assisted Dr. Donna Bliss with the creation of the Recovery Athens website. I have also created intranet based web resources at both of my MSW internship placements. These on-line tools create a centralized location for agency and community resources and simplify the process of connecting clients with the resource that will best suit their needs. At my current internship at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, I created an Access database with patient tracking and reporting tools that greatly reduced their staff’s administrative time. My second focus in the MSW program has been on a specific at-risk population, gays and lesbians. I completed an independent research study on the impact of religion and spirituality on the addiction issues of gays and lesbians. I was invited to present my paper findings to the 2008 Institute for Women’s Studies Student Symposium. This research led to a further study in which I attended various Alcoholics Anonymous meetings around Atlanta and distributed questionnaires. I have also participated in past Aids Walks and other community events supporting the civil rights of the gay and lesbian population. My third focus has been on serving America’s veterans. Since completing a research topic on the Homeless Veteran’s Reintegration Program, my passion has been finding ways to honor and support the men and women who defend our country. In my current internship at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, I work in the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom department. We work with veterans who are currently returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. We provide resources for mental health counseling, post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury recovery, financial resources, and support for any other area of the veteran’s life that need assistance.

Hometown:

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

High School:

Millbrook High School

Current Employment:

Outside of my internship at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, I continue to provide human resources consultant services to organizations around Atlanta. I also offer web design services for small businesses. I have published a website of my own that provides eco-friendly environmental tips and resources, such as how to find locally grown food and how to build your own rain barrel. To keep this website current, I have a corresponding blog where I share my thoughts on recent news and developments related to “greener” transportation, housing, food and political policies. I believe that social workers have an obligation to not only support our client’s individual lives but also the environments in which they live those lives.

Family Ties to UGA:

My brother-in-law is a recent UGA graduate and a huge UGA football fan. Both of my parents went to the University of Alabama so my enthusiastic support of UGA and our fantastic football team was fairly controversial in our family.

I chose to attend UGA because...

During my undergraduate program in the 1990s, I attended a student conference and students from UGA were also in attendance. That contingency from UGA seemed to be so cohesive and was having such a great time that it made me wish I were also a UGA student. After I moved to Georgia years later, I become more familiar with the wonderful UGA history and traditions and hoped I would someday be part of that history as well. Also, as a returning student, it was very important for me to find a MSW program that could accommodate the hectic nature of my work and family life. The Gwinnett part-time program has met those needs for me. I was able to continue work full time during the first year of the program and part time during the second and third years. The supportive professors in the program and the night and weekend classes have made a MSW degree a reality for me.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

When I am at the Athens campus, I love to walk around and check out the latest campus news. I love game day in Athens. The atmosphere of excitement is palpable on those beautiful fall days. My family and I also came to the G Day game this past spring and had a blast cheering on the players.

When I have free time, I like...

I love to play the piano and am currently working on music to play at my sister’s June wedding. I love to spend time developing websites, checking out my friends on facebook and reading political blogs. My partner and I enjoy taking our adorable dog on hikes at Sweetwater State Park and around our neighborhood in downtown Atlanta. We just joined the local YMCA, and now I’m spending a lot of time on the treadmill! I also plan to begin training with the American Red Cross Disaster Recovery Team as a volunteer social worker.

The craziest thing I've done is...

Go on a weeklong silent retreat in the Redwoods south of San Francisco. When I told people I was going to spend a week in silence many people remarked that not talking for an entire week would drive them crazy. The retreat location was beautiful, however, and the periods of meditation, yoga and hiking were so wonderful after experiencing the stress of school and work. I’m hoping to go back for another week this year.

My favorite place to study is...

On the back deck of my house. The light is so wonderful and in the fall and spring the leaves from the big oak tree next to my house are distractingly beautiful.

My favorite professor is...

I have several favorite professors. Dr. Donna Bliss has been very supportive of my specific areas of interest and was always available to listen to my latest thoughts or struggles with social work concepts. Her interest in technology and its application to the social work profession has inspired my interests as well. Professor Denise Davison’s instruction and support has been very valuable to me. She is a role model for social workers who want to be active members of their communities. She has a great passion for social work, which is transferred to her students. Dr. Betsy Vonk has provided wonderful instruction in the clinical aspects of social work practice and has helped me to feel better prepared for a new career in social work.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...

President Barack Obama. I am so moved by his ability to inspire people and call Americans to community service. I am participating in the Presidential Pledge program to pledge hours of volunteer service this year. While it is wonderful that he is our first African-American president, I am also so excited that he is supportive of many of the social work ideals, such as social justice and human rights for Americans and people around the world.

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

Be a professional musician. Playing the piano was always my first love and something I still enjoy doing. I had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall while I was in high school and loved the feeling of performing for a very large crowd.

After graduation, I plan to...

Continue my efforts to support our military men and women. I am also interested in social work in a hospice environment, and I am interested in combining meditation practice with mental health practice.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

Meeting other returning students like me at the Gwinnett program. Many of us have families with children and have also worked our regular jobs while attending school. It has been so great to have a support system of other students who have shared the same frustrations and joys with me throughout this program.