Student Spotlight: Erin Grohe

Erin Grohe lays in a hammock smiling

Class Year: May 2024

Degree Program: On-Campus MSW/MNO: Social Work + Nonprofit Management

Concentration: Health

Field Education Organization: Windsor Laurelwood in Willoughby, Ohio

Hometown: Aurora, Ohio

Before beginning at Case Western Reserve University, what were you doing?

Prior to attending the Mandel School, I worked in the New York City child welfare system for just over three years. From July 2019 to May 2021, I worked as a NYC-based foster care case planner monitoring academic, social, medical and psychological progress of my assigned children. I directed coordination of care and services for each child in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of foster parents, education specialists, mental health staff and physicians. From May 2021 until August 2022, I served the city of New York as a child protective specialist, investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect as a defender of children’s best interests and a support for families facing adversity. I interviewed stakeholders, assessed needs, implemented safety plans and referred families to necessary services. I also collaborated with law enforcement for caregiver convictions, city legal staff to file petitions in family court, and foster care agencies to execute child removals.

Why did you choose CWRU/the Mandel School?

My interest in the Mandel School stems from our shared commitment to building “a more just world.” I am drawn to the school’s emphasis on global, interdisciplinary and change-driven education, based in collaboration with and support of the communities we serve. As a school “founded by and for the Greater Cleveland community,” the Mandel School embodies the ideals that I seek in higher education in the fields of social work and nonprofit organizations. I am also proud to be a Leadership Fellow.

Describe your field education practicum experience and any work/projects you have done.

At Windsor Laurelwood, I have:

  • Completed initial biopsychosocial and ongoing assessments of mental health patients 
  • Conducted family calls to provide psychoeducation and promote family communication
  • Placed outpatient referrals in accordance with Release of Information policies
  • Facilitated group therapy sessions founded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Collaborated with other healthcare professional in team treatment meetings

What are you doing in field that you’re planning to bring with you into your career?

I plan to work with children and adults facing chronic mental illness.

What is something you have learned during your practicum that you have found to be the most helpful in your social work journey?

The insight I have gained into for-profit hospital treatment of severe mental health, suicidality and psychosis in inpatient stabilization settings has been very helpful.

Who is someone you met during your field education that will change the way you practice?

Lisa Wieland-Fiorello

Describe any extracurricular activities you're involved with on- or off-campus.

On campus, I'm a Mandel Council MNO representative, a Graduate Student Council rep, and a Curriculum Committee student member. Off campus, I work 20 hours a week for CASA of Portage County recruiting, training and supervising volunteer court-appointed special advocates to serve children facing abuse and neglect in the family court system. I also volunteer teaching religious education each Sunday at my local church.

What are you most looking forward to this semester?

Diving into MNO coursework!

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I hope to further serve children and families through work in and direction of nonprofit pediatric hospitals and healthcare systems.

What is your favorite thing about CWRU/the Mandel School?

Getting to know staff/faculty through hearing about their careers in action, and taking advantage of the many lunch and learns and guest presenters to learn something outside of class content.

What is your favorite thing about Cleveland?

The arts and culture scene, all the music venues, and the fact that there are three pro sports teams here!