School of Social Work Students, Students

Rachel smiling at camera, wearing a denim jacket against a brick wall

Hometown: North Haledon, New Jersey

Grade Level: Sophomore

High School: Hawthorne Christian Academy

Major: Social Work

What factored into your decision to pursue social work at Cairn?
I’ve always really been interested in social work and I have always liked people, so I wanted to pursue a degree that I could use to help people. I looked at a lot of social work programs, but when I came to Cairn and heard Dr. Gestoso speak—whoa. It was clear that he really cares about social work and he approaches it from a biblical perspective, which is something that I really wanted in a BSW program.

How did you become president of the social work club?
Dr. Gestoso sent out an email to all the social work majors saying there were open positions for Chi Beta Sigma. I wasn’t thinking I wanted to be the president, but I reached out to him and said I’d be interested in helping in some small capacity. But he told me, “why not the president?” I was only a first semester sophomore then, but I took the position and I’m in my second semester as president now. 

How’s your current education preparing you for your future endeavors?
I’m not really sure where I want to go with social work yet because there’s so many different things that you can do. But I feel so equipped to go forward. I will be starting my first placement next semester, and I’m really excited because I know I will learn so much through that experience.

Can you tell me a story that would help people understand what’s unique about being a Cairn student?
I think it all comes down to how personal and intentional the professors are. Two semesters ago when we were over Zoom, Dr. Gestoso was my academic advisor and we had a video call to talk about what classes I should be taking the following semester. Just before that I was going through a breakup, so I was pretty upset and I was pretty sad. And I guess that came across on the camera. I didn’t say anything; I guess I just looked sad. And he looked at me and he was like, “Rachel. Why are you sad? You’re not normally sad. What’s wrong?” So I told him what was going on. It was supposed to be a short meeting about my classes, but it turned into 45 minutes of him taking the time to encourage me and pray with me. I don’t think you can find a school where every professor is as intentional as the professors at Cairn.


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