The UB School of Social Work has a partnership with Amrita
University in South India. The two recently created the UB/Amrita
Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute.
In spring 2011, UB sent its first master of social work student
to Amrita for a semester-long field education experience—and
private support for the school helped to get her there.
Natalie Bartone transferred to the UB MSW program hoping to get
such an opportunity. Her goal is to work internationally. She had
traveled in South Asia; she knew she was comfortable with cultures
very different from her own.
The School of Social Work’s director of field education
says that when Natalie raised the possibility of a field placement
in India, she was completely was satisfied with her seriousness and
An Indian doctoral student in the school gave Natalie a crash
course in South Indian cultural nuances and is now her
long-distance supervisor for the placement.
Natalie is interning as a social work researcher in an
Amrita-based project in Kerala that is studying the role of culture
in sustainable management of small patches of forest called sacred
groves. These plots have been protected by tradition through the
ages. She is also completing a placement-related UB course while
she is in India.
Everything lined up perfectly for Natalie except one thing she
couldn’t remedy right away: she has modest means and
couldn’t afford to fly half way around the world and back.
That’s when private support helped.
Dean of Social Work Nancy Smyth has a discretionary fund
supplied by private gifts, mostly modest, for such needs. She was
happy to invest in Natalie because she wants to assure that cost is
not a barrier that stops the best and brightest from fulfilling
So Natalie is now opening new doors for UB in India—and
friends of the school helped to get her there.