Alumni Profile: Social Work Major

Nathan Stern
Social Work Major

Nathan Stern ’14 left Mount Mercy with a great deal of experience and strong sense of accomplishment. During his time at the university, Stern implemented many multicultural events, doubled the size of the Multicultural Fair, was president of both the International Club and Social Work Organization, was a member of the Diversity Task Force, and won honors as a member of Mount Mercy’s track and field team.

“The experience gained from all of these activities made me a stronger professional and better social worker. I take the lessons I learned from these things and apply them in my professional life today.”

Immediately after graduation, Stern was offered and accepted a full-time position as a youth employment counselor, working with youth aged 15-19 who have had involvement with the law or gang activity in low-income Toronto communities.

“I left that positon at the end of August to focus on my master’s degree. In a period of a week before I started school, I was offered two positions at the University of Toronto that I had previously applied for, and I was approached to sit on a board of directors. I decided to take on these roles and balance it with my full-time studies.”

Now, Stern is working toward earning his Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. He is enrolled in the Advanced Standing Program in the Social Justice and Diversity Specialization Stream and is working on his practicum at the University of Toronto Transitional Year Programme, a program for students over the age of 18 who wish to pursue a university level education but lack the qualifications.

In addition to his studies, Stern sits on a board of directors for a non-profit housing unit in Toronto where he handles areas surrounding community outreach and tenant satisfaction. He is also a clinical research assistant and student activities coordinator in the university’s diversity and equity office.

“I like the fact that I work in very different areas of social work doing a variety of different skills. This allows me to be a well-rounded social worker. I work doing direct practice work with clients and I also work within organizations working on create programming and new policies relating to diversity and equity issues.”

Stern credits his success to key people who helped develop and shape the person and professional he is today: Joni Howland, associate professor and director of the social work program; April Dirks, assistant professor of social work; Rick Zingher, professor of social work; Bill Mulcahey, adjunct professor of religious studies and previous director of campus ministry; and Jamie Jimison, former head coach of track & field.

Beyond his studies at Mount Mercy, Stern was a member of the track and field team where he won many honors including: Most Improved Player 2013-14, indoor and outdoor school record holder in shot put, top 10 marks for shot put in school history, three time national qualifier, two time conference champion in shot put and first male track and field All-American in shot put in school history.

“I am forever thankful for the opportunities, mentorship and guidance that they provided to me during my time at Mount Mercy. They all, in various ways, kept me motivated to keep going and get to this point where I am now officially a Social Worker.”