“A Transformative Experience” – Tessa Burns, MSW ’22, reflects on her time in the Master of Social Work program

Master of Social Work graduate on campus

Tessa Burns, MSW ’22, crossed the stage as one of the first graduates from the university’s Master of Social Work program at Summer Convocation. 


Her mother, Carla Gregan-Burns, had a similar experience 40 years ago when she became one of STU’s first Bachelor of Social Work graduates. 


“It’s been incredibly special for us to share a passion for this line of work and the values that guide our practice as social workers,” Burns said. “Being one of the first graduates of STU’s Master of Social Work program is a true privilege.”


Burns completed her Bachelor of Social Work at STU in 2016. After spending almost six years in the field, she was eager to return to the classroom and build on her knowledge and professional experience. 


“When I learned STU was offering a full-time, on-site Master of Social Work, it was a dream come true,” she said. “While the Bachelor of Social Work prepared me to become a social worker, the Master of Social Work provided me with an opportunity to critically reflect on my social work practice to date and build on that foundation to advance my skills.”


The program, which Burns described as “a transformative experience,” has given her insight on how to engage in ethical social work research, how to identify systemic barriers within social policies, and how to use her skills to influence change in pursuit of social justice.


All of these skills will be invaluable in her role as a Provincial Program Consultant with the Child and Youth Services Branch at the Department of Social Development. 


For those considering a return to the classroom, Burns has a simple message. 


“Take the plunge and apply for the Master of Social Work program at STU. This has without a doubt been one of the best decisions I have ever made.”