Student Spotlight: Tia Otoo

Tia Otoo standing in front of a big wooden door with vines crawling up it

Class Year: Fall 2023

Degree Program: MSW

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Undergrad Alma Mater: Miami University

Why did you choose Case Western Reserve?

I chose CWRU because of the prestige and recognition of the social work program at the Mandel School. It’s a high-ranking program, and I am native to Cleveland so I didn’t have to relocate. This was my top choice program!

What’s your favorite thing about the program?

The experiences of the professors and their backgrounds are so interesting. They bring real-world knowledge and connections to the school. My Assessing and Diagnosing professor is from Poland and was a medical doctor who moved into social work. Hearing about his transition from the medical profession to social work has been incredible. 

My school social work professor is also interesting—she has an administrator’s license and transitioned into working for Case Western Reserve. I’m interested in administration, so hearing about her experiences is very helpful. 

What has surprised you most—in a good way—about CWRU?

I knew that CWRU would not be an easy school, but I was surprised by the style of the courses. Usually, you go to a lecture and you might have readings and notes prior to class, but at the Mandel School, the classroom time is mostly spent talking with classmates, doing projects and engaging with other students and the material. It’s more challenging, but I find value in it because it is more interesting to talk and do things than just sit and listen to professors give lectures. My learning style is more geared towards experimenting and practicing, and this method of classroom training has been much more engaging for me. 

What are your career goals?

I am on the path to get my independent social work license, and I hope to become a supervisor or program director of a facility. Education policy is a field I’m very passionate about. I’d like to be a superintendent eventually or be able to integrate education with social work at my own school.

Are you involved with any clubs or activities outside of the classroom?

I’ve been invited to join the Black Student Association but have yet to check it out.