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#UofTGrad22: Q&A with PhD graduate Andrea Greenblatt 

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Andrea Greenblatt received her PhD on November 10 from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. We asked her to share her experience in the program, key takeaways from her dissertation, advice for those considering a PhD, and what she hopes to do next. 

How does it feel to be receiving your PhD?  

I defended my dissertation this summer (2022) and am pretty sure it hasn’t hit me yet that I have completed the PhD program! When I look back at what myself and my cohort have accomplished, I realize how much learning, growth, and relationship-building has occurred. It feels like just yesterday I was contemplating applying to the program, wondering if it made sense to go back to school after many years out of the classroom. And now I look back and realize how right this decision was for me and how much I have learned about myself, research, and the exciting work that social work scholars produce. 


What are some key takeaways from your dissertation that you would like others to know?  

My dissertation focused on capturing the voices of youth with mental health concerns. My goal was to center youth’s own interpretations of their lived experiences. I spoke with youth about their experiences with their mental health, with the mental health system, and in interactions with those close to them. Youth spoke of the many different opinions they face from parents, teachers, peers, and society as a whole and the work that goes into navigating these voices as they try to make meaning of their own experiences. Some youth felt that their experiences were silenced and that speaking with those who also experience mental health concerns was validating and helpful. Social workers are in key positions to support youth in navigating the voices in their lives and in providing education to schools, parents, and students around how best to support youth. 


What are your goals after graduation? 

My goals are to continue developing my research skills as well as learning new skills. I am interested in mental health and health related research that focuses on lived experience. 


What advice do you have for those considering PhD in social work at U of T or for current PhD students? 

I would highly recommend applying to the PhD program! The program provides an invaluable opportunity for learning and collaboration within a supportive and enriching environment. To current students, you may not realize it now, but you are growing as a scholar and social worker in many profound ways. The program structure helps you build fundamental skills as you move toward developing your dissertation, allowing you to explore different topics, methodologies, and frameworks. Perhaps the best part of the program is the long-lasting relationships that will provide support and connection beyond the program itself. 


Read more about our PhD students & graduates

> Click here to learn more about FIFSW’s PhD program