Rebekah Ederer grew up in a small rural community in Northern Ontario. She was raised in a low-income single parent household with two siblings. Despite sometimes unfavourable circumstances, she says she was lucky to have a lot of community and family support.

“My time navigating different social services ultimately motivated me to become a social worker.”


Ederer was attracted to the Master of Social Work (MSW) at Carleton because of the structural social work perspective that it offers. “I have always loved macro social work, which centers on larger scale social problems and developing social interventions to make positive changes.”

Social work can be a tough field. But Ederer says it can also be incredibly gratifying.

“Social workers often work with people at low points in their lives. We provide counselling, advocacy, service navigation, referral, and more. Social workers don’t often get to see clients once their circumstances have changed for the better. You must be OK with the fact that you can’t always see things through to a perfect resolution. Tough work, but if you can keep the perspective that you are a single step on a person’s journey toward a fulfilling life, then, hopefully you can continue to find meaning in the work, even on the tough days.”

Due to COVID, Ederer had to complete all of her courses online. “It’s wild to think that I have a Master’s degree from Carleton, yet I’ve never actually set foot on the campus.”

She found a way to cope with the uncertainty created by COVID by following the path expressed by her favorite poet Rainer Marie Rilke.

Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart…Do not

now strive to uncover answers: they cannot be given to you

because you have not been able to live them. And what matters 

Is to live everything.  Live the questions for now. Perhaps then

you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer,

one distant day in the future.”

Ederer said people in her program also made a big difference. “My cohort was full of bright and motivated students with a wide variety of life experiences and perspectives to share. My professors were knowledgeable and professional and, perhaps most importantly, deeply empathetic towards what we were collectively going through with the pandemic and online learning.”

There were two faculty, in particular, that the graduating student wanted to mention: Prof. Karen Sewell and Instructor Joanne Roulston. “Both of these women are people that I admire and deeply respect for their years of impressive professional experience and for their kindness, tenacity and passion for teaching.”

In her internship, she assisted Dr. Sewell with her research about supervision in social work practice. “As a new social worker, it was extremely valuable for me to be emersed in the literature about supervision and reflect upon my own preferences and needs from a supervisor as I engaged in data analysis and manuscript writing. Karen offered me a lot of practice wisdom and guidance as I transitioned out of school and into full-time employment.”

Ederer recently accepted a position as a Counsellor at Nipissing University. She says she might decide to pursue a PhD one day, if the timing is right.

She graduated this fall with a straight A average. Carleton will be hosting a special virtual graduation ceremony on Nov. 13.

Thursday, October 28, 2021 in ,
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