Heidi Wallace - Agency Field Instructor

Heidi Wallace

Interview Questions

Title: Executive Director of Empower Montana, and ’93 University of Montana BSW Graduate

What do you appreciate most about supervising practicum students?
There are so many amazing benefits. We are small organization with just a few staff members, so we simply couldn’t do the incredible amount of work we do in the community without our BSW and MSW students – they are integral to our whole organization. I so appreciate their energy and drive and I feel that the education they bring to us is just as valuable as what we give to them.

One learning you hope your practicum students will take with them into their careers?
We are unique as a practicum site is that we give students a multifaceted experience in youth development, community organizing, and organizational development. This broad exposure allows the students to dip their toes into areas they thought they would not be interested in. I hope all our students leave with the inherent knowledge that they have the power to change the world and take this well-rounded experience with them wherever they decide to go.

What doing being a “social worker” mean to you?
The reason I decided to be a social worker in 3rd grade was because I wanted to help people. While this was my child mind understanding, what I have grown to see is that my role as a social worker is supporting people in actualizing their potential by helping create the supports, resources and environments they need to thrive – be that on the individual, institutional or community level.

How do you see your practice as a social worker relating to your role as supervisor?
I love being a supervisor. We are a strengths-based organization passionate about meeting people where they are. At the same time we are helping students hone in on their strengths, we are also gently nudging them to step out of their comfort zones and grow from new experiences.

Last thoughts to share?
Our practicum students are so much more than 450 hours of work. They are like family and we have hired a few of them. We so value what they bring to us. We can only hope that we add to their toolbox, and help them take their learning from campus into the world so they can shine.