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Alumni Perspective: Amadi Swartz

Name: Amadi (Walker) Swartz

Graduation Year: 2006

Major: Social Work

Current Position: Case Manager at University of Missouri Hospital (UMHS)

Alumni Engagement Committee Chair for the Alumni Board of Directors

City and State: Columbia, MO

Tell us about your career and what you do now.

During my undergraduate, I worked with children and their families in school. However, my first social work job out of school came by way of another grad, Jen (Stallworth) Finstad (’06). She got married and moved to my home state of Minnesota. She got her first job working in a nursing home and suggested I apply for an opening that had become available. I didn’t want to, but the bills came calling so I applied, interviewed and they offered me a job! It was a blast working with Jen and we immediately used what we learned at EU to provide excellent care to vulnerable, older adults and their families. While there, I/we were able to provide consulting to other sister facilities and traveled to Colorado, Ohio, and cities in Minnesota.

I then got married to Shaun Swartz (’06) and we moved to Columbia, Mo where I completed the Master of Social Work program at University of Missouri. While completing that degree, I worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters and completed Bigs – volunteer – interviews and matched them with Littles – children – in our program along with volunteer training. Fundraisers and marketing were also a part of the job.

That position led to Boone County Council on Aging (BCCA) where I became a volunteer specialist matching volunteers with low income elderly in the Columbia area. I supervised students completing their practicums through the MU School of Social Work. I was also fortunate enough to be a part of a Community Block Grant that provided money for seniors to fix up their homes to stay there longer. This led to my favorite part of the job of “Extreme Home Makeover: Fairview Road Church Edition”. We had a great partnership with Fairview Road Church of Christ and they picked a home out of a few I selected and decided to add financial and volunteer resources to not only do small fixes but an extreme makeover! It was great and last a few years.

However, I started to feel the itch to get back into the medical field and was fortunate to land a job with The Neighborhoods by Tiger Place (TNBTP). It is a skilled nursing facility that provides rehabilitation to a home along with long-term care but in a neighborhood environment – its own living room, dining room, kitchen, nurse’s station, staff, etc. It’s the cutting edge of where such facilities are headed. I was able to utilize the resources from my previous experience at BCCA to assist with discharging patients back to home. It was a difficult time in my career, but I finally came to decide that if that is where God wants me, I was going to be happy and rejoice in it somehow.

One random day, I was emailed by my former MSW Practicum placement specialists asking if I wanted a student at TNBTP. Though I really wanted to have a student, I felt the environment was not conducive to positive learning. She asked why and I explained the situation. She then replied, University Hospital has an opening for a social work position and that I need to apply. Before I could respond, she said she was emailing the supervisor right then and there. And, the rest is history.

In 2013, I began working at UMHS and have LOVED – mostly – every minute of it! It is fast-paced and I work with all age ranges and their families, assisting and guiding them to their next transition of care from an acute setting. I work with amazing nurses, great doctors, and supportive co-workers. I have continued in educating by presenting to new interns (first-year medical resident students) every July on Case Management and how to utilize case management for the benefit of the patients and themselves. I’ve also participated in committees and groups to improve quality measures and/or policy with regard to case management standards of care and documentation. I am most proud of the work I assisted in regard to guardianship and developing a process and protocol when determining a patient needs a guardian and what steps should be taken and when.  

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

Such a tough, tough question! So I will name a few (no particular order)

  • Finding the best roommate, Dianne (Henry) Twigger (‘06)
  • Dinner at Pastor Griffith’s house and seeing his hotrods
  • Winning two conference titles as a softball player
  • Lake with friends and hanging out at Justin Snider’s house, eating salsa/chips and playing Catch Phrase
  • Homecoming Court/ Homecoming – listening to Alumni was very inspiring
  • Powder Puff (L4N Sassy Reds – “Blood Makes the Grass Grow, Kill Kill Kill!”)
  • North/South Side snow storm snow fight of 2002/2003
  • Standing in lines at registration and meeting people
  • Mudhouse Coffee
  • Floor devos and decorating the floor for Christmas
  • Dates with my boyfriend (now spouse), Shaun
  • Becoming a White House Intern

 How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?

I first started off as a Pre-Law major but found it to be too confining. My advisor suggested I try a few social work classes. I resisted at first because they typically do not make a lot of money. But, his persistence paid off and I tried a class and enjoyed it. I appreciated all of the different avenues I could go into using my degree and I my career thus far shows, it’s true. Donna Washburn and Lacey Nunnally pushed us, students, to be more than we ever could imagine – they would push our “good enough” to be better always soliciting more. I learned I LOVE policy analysis and policy making and my professors guided me on that path.

Strengths Finder was huge for me! I believe it helped me to land several jobs and it is now used at UMHS. I was able to become an advocate in using it to assist us in communication with each other and teams.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

Our undergraduate course was INSANELY rigorous to the point that our jobs and consequent Master’s programs were a piece of cake! I learned that no matter what job I had, the values instilled in me and the skills I acquired as a student could be applied to anything. I am so thankful for the amazing education I received and I would do it again!

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

Take the advice of your teachers/professors. Learn ALL you can. UTILIZE resources during and after graduation! I went to Career Services and they helped me fashion my resume which I feel landed me the White House internship and I still use this template today for the other jobs I accepted.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

I would look for someone who knows how to fail with grace and a willingness to learn from their mistakes. I would look for someone that is a great person above a great employee because the former makes the latter. I would also look for someone who does not shy away from hard work but knows how to chill and have fun, too!