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Student Spotlight - Master of Social Work (MSW)

Earning a Degree from The University of Alabama Seemed Like Only a Dream to Ashley Motes

Earning a degree from The University of Alabama seemed like only a dream until I found out about Bama By Distance. I received my Bachelor's degree in Social Work from the University of North Alabama and I knew I wanted to earn my master's, but I didn't believe it would be possible. 

I was married so relocating to Tuscaloosa was an option. My life was hectic so I didn't know how I would fit school into my schedule, and I didn't think I would be able to afford it. With Bama By Distance I didn't have to relocate. All of my classes were online. I made one trip a month to labs on a Saturday, but other than that, I dictated my school schedule. The cost of attendance was also truly amazing. I was expecting a master's degree to cost me double what I paid! 

When it comes to the staff and faculty, I can't say enough good things! Each professor I met wanted their students to succeed and would do anything they could to help. I highly recommend the MSW program offered through Bama By Distance!

Army Specialist and MSW Graduate Honored at Alabama Veteran’s Appreciation and Awards Dinner

DonLarae Richardson
Left to right: James Shamlee, Program Coordinator of Military
Services; Spc. DonLarae Richardson; Tanesha Richardson; Vikki L.
Vandiver, DrPH, Dean, UA School of Social Work

Spc. DonLarae Richardson, a recent graduate of the primarily online Master of Social Work program, was selected to receive the Bama By Distance Veteran’s Appreciation Award due to his commitment to UA values and his achievements as a social worker in the United States Army. 

He accepted his award at the third annual Veteran’s Appreciation and Awards Dinner, part of the Alabama Veteran’s Reunion weekend, which was held August 26-28, 2016. 

“I believe obtaining my MSW from The University of Alabama through Bama By Distance was one of the best decisions I could have made for my career. As a social worker in the military, I believe I am making an indelible impact on soldiers and their families. Without my experience from The University of Alabama, I do not believe I would have been fully prepared to assist my fellow brethren as we tackled real-world problems,” he said. 

When asked about receiving this award, Spc. Richardson describes himself as someone who shies away from praise - for him, the best part of the night was getting to know other servicemen like himself. 

“I had no idea how exciting it would be to see so many fellow service members in one room talking about their own experiences. By far that was the most exciting moment since I had the ability to connect with different genres of veterans. Because of their sacrifices I had the opportunity to attend graduate school while still serving my country.” 

Spc. Richardson is also the recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. He used his knowledge as an MSW to help the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade Special Operations Forces establish their embedded behavioral clinic, for which he received the medal. 

He still actively serves in the military and lives with his wife of almost ten years and their two children.