Social Work Month Student Spotlight: Gregory

Name: Gregory Hobson
Degree and graduation year: MSW, Class of 2024, with a Behavior Specialist Certificate.

Can you tell us about your ECU and HHP experience thus far?
My HHP/ECU experience thus far has been very rewarding and has installed a great sense of pride in me during my transition from the military. I often would be asked by various service members during my transition as to what my plans were when I got out. Sharing with them that I was actively working on my graduate degree at ECU helped confirm my purpose for making the decision to hang up my service uniform.

Tell us about your hobbies and involvement at ECU?  
Trying to reacquaint myself with old hobbies after two decades in the military. But I am a Band Dad who accompanies my 15-year-old daughter to all her events during Marching Season #MarchingMonarchs. I also enjoy tinkering with old cars and have an affliction for old Volkswagens. I started my graduate program a year out from retiring from active duty; it is a 3-year part time program. My involvement with any extracurricular activities with ECU has been minimal but I have attended a veteran’s dinner and remain up to date with all the great events that they sponsor.  

    What brought you to ECU?
    I originally discovered ECU while my wife was applying to ECU’s Psychiatric Health Nurse Practitioner program. During these early days of her application process, I was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba still finishing up my Human Services degree from University of South Carolina Beaufort. It was through her positive experience and recommendation, that I applied to their Social Work Grad program.   

    Why do you want to enter the field of Social Work? 
    I have always felt like I have a duty and purpose to assist and serve others. Instead of the military being a capstone of my career I have been fortunate enough to say it has been a valuable steppingstone in my professional journey that has allowed me to fully develop my personal views and ambitions towards helping others.  

    What is your favorite aspect of Social Work? 
    The rawness of it. There is so many aspects of the human experience that are sugar coated and go unseen from day-to-day. Social work puts us in these very human and often uncomfortable situations that opens up spaces for opportunities and growth from both clients and social workers. 

    Tell us about your favorite Social Work course or professor(s)?
    My favorite course so far has been SOCW 6110 Foundational Communication and Relationship Capacities for Clinical Community Practice from a Relational Perspective with Prof. Sean Pumphrey. It was our first introduction(s) to clinical social work by a passionate instructor who also actively worked in his field. He challenged us and built comradery amongst our cohort as we traveled from multiple locations within N.C. (as part of a part time distant learning program) to ECU for the first time to practice our face-to-face client interviewing skills and then enjoyed lunch at Christy’s to get to know one another a little better, outside of Webex. 

    What kind of setting or future job do you hope to have upon graduation? 
    I hope to be working in a setting with other social workers that are all great team players and appreciate each other’s efforts. 

    Tell us about your current internship/field placement or where you hope to intern? 
    I have completed one internship at Onslow Department of Social Services with In-Home Services and am scheduled to start my second internship their in Assessments.

    This year’s theme for social work month is breaking barriers. How do you plan to use your education, experience, and passion for the field to help break barriers for those you work with and in the community? 
    As an African American, Male, and Veteran in the field of Child Welfare I plan to show up each day and give 100% to the community in which I serve and my fellow co-workers. I do not know exactly at this stage how my strengths are going to benefit the field and community; but I do know that each time I am thrown into the mix, I am able to find ways to identify and relate to clients that I work with. 

    Do you have any advice for current and prospective social work students? 
    Ensure you have a good network of support; it does not have to be big and it comes in many forms. Attending school day-in and day-out especially as an older adult who has already completed one career and is trying to start another can be difficult. Never doubt yourself, fully commit and show up to each class, each internship and every association meeting like your meant to be there.  

    Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your passion for Social Work? 
    Just that the impossible is only obtainable with the support and care of others. I have an amazing goal orientated wife that is doing amazing things in the field of mental health with a focus on the Hispanic population of Eastern North Carolina. Lastly, I have had a great cohort. Even though we are part of a part time distance learning program, we have all seemed to connect well and value each other’s opinions and advice.