The sky is the limit when it comes to being a social worker. That’s certainly the case for Amanda Jernigan, LCSW, Corporate Outpatient Director for Gaudenzia, Inc. When not traveling to outpatient sites and providing technical assistance to ensure programs are running smoothly, Amanda is teaching students at Penn State Harrisburg.
But that’s not all. We sat down this week with Amanda to learn about all of the different ways she is involved in the social work profession, and what keeps her going.
What initially sparked your interest in social work?
What drew me into social work is the facets of all the things I can do. It’s not about just sitting at a desk and pushing numbers all day. It’s also about connecting with people and sharing ideas. I’ve had amazing opportunities in my career. I’ve had the ability to work with different task forces to do trainings at national conventions for people. I’ve been on the board at Hershey Medical Center where I work with doctors getting certified in addiction counseling, as well as with medical students.
I was involved in a research project with Hershey Medical Center, which got published. I teach at Penn State Harrisburg. I’ve also been involved in a task force with the Attorney General’s Office. I’ve done trauma therapy for first responders. There is just so much. There are so many great opportunities in the field of social work that I never thought I would have been involved in.
What does social work mean to you?
Social work means working with people to better their lives. It means giving them the necessary tools to succeed, whether it be research, trainings…you name it. I think of Lucy from “Peanuts” putting a sign out. It’s about taking that role of talking to people, touching them and enriching their lives.
What do you like to do for fun?
My husband and I run a nonprofit for K9 dogs, which is something we enjoy. Spending time with my family has been extremely important for me. I’m involved in certain projects around our house, and I love supporting my 14-year-old step son who plays baseball.