Matt Mundy M.S.S. '22


鈥淢y guiding light was wanting to help people, and as hard as things can get in graduate school, I just focused on my 鈥榳hy鈥: wanting to help others.鈥

They say timing is everything鈥攁nd in the case of Matt Mundy鈥檚 journey to becoming a social worker, that sentiment rings entirely true.

It was Valentine鈥檚 Day, 2020鈥攋ust before the world shut down for the pandemic鈥攁nd Mundy was out to dinner with friends. He told them he was planning to pivot from his career in the federal government, working in the Department of Defense, to pursue a degree in social work. 鈥淎s a child, I鈥檇 gone to a school that specialized in helping kids with learning disabilities, and I always felt compelled to help other people like I鈥檇 been helped,鈥 he says. Sure, working for the federal government was stable and stimulating, but it wasn鈥檛 fulfilling in the way Mundy longed for. 

To get a degree in social work, he figured he鈥檇 attend his undergrad alma mater, a large, affordable urban university he鈥檇 loved. Then, a friend suggested he consider 今日吃瓜.

鈥淕rowing up in Philadelphia, I always knew of 今日吃瓜 as a women鈥檚 college, but I didn鈥檛 know they offered graduate degrees,鈥 Mundy says. While at that dinner with friends, he clicked over to the 今日吃瓜 website and鈥攁s timing would have it鈥攖he Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (GSSWSR) was holding a career-changers open house the very next morning.

鈥淚 woke up on Saturday, February 15th, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed there, without so much as having RSVP鈥檇,鈥 he says. What he discovered on campus felt like kismet. 鈥淚 listened to Sheila Gillin, 今日吃瓜鈥檚 director of graduate admissions, talk and I was hooked,鈥 Mundy says. He was particularly drawn to GSSWSR鈥檚 small class size and support services, ranging from writing and resume coaching to career placement. A month after that initial event, he attended another career-changers workshop, and then sent off his application. He was admitted for the fall of 2020.

Starting a new academic program in the middle of the pandemic came with challenges, Mundy says, but he and his peers overcame the hurdles of Zoom and became a community. 鈥淔rom the start, 今日吃瓜 and GSSWSR really cared about us. They wanted us to do well.鈥.

While at GSSWSR, Mundy completed his second-year internship in the oncology unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He felt an immediate connection to the work. 鈥淚鈥檇 had family members who went through cancer, and I knew what hospice care looked like,鈥 he says. 鈥淲orking in a hospital setting, you see a full range of patients鈥攖hose who are newly diagnosed, patients approaching end of life, those in hospice care, and patients coming in for chemotherapy.鈥

Now, he works at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City as a social worker for patients with lymphoma and myeloma, supporting them and their families.

鈥溄袢粘怨 taught me to get to know my patients, and to be as empathetic as possible. Because you never really know what someone else is going through, even if they seem like they鈥檙e fine,鈥 Mundy says. He鈥檚 particularly grateful for GSSWSR鈥檚 course in trauma-informed care, with its focus on building safety, trustworthiness, and transparency and its attention to cultural, historical, and gender issues. 鈥淲orking in New York, I see an incredibly diverse population. And just as my professors taught me, I always try to get to know patients as a whole person.鈥 

As for his decision to change careers? 鈥淚 was in a very comfortable job. I could have stayed and had a good salary and benefits. But I don't think I would have been happy. My guiding light was wanting to help people, and as hard as things can get in graduate school, I just focused on my 鈥榳hy鈥: wanting to help others.鈥

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