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Student Spotlight: Megan Amling

Student Spotlight: Megan Amling

January 19, 2024

My name is Megan Amling, I am a part-time MSW II student. I began studying social work while I was a care partner and primary caregiver for my grandfather. He was 94 at the time I began the program, and we spent many nights quarantined together, me studying social work, and him reading a novel or watching a movie in front of the fireplace. Online classes made it possible for me to spend time with him and take care of us while completing my degree, and work part-time at the OSU Writing center where I now do my placement. It was the time spent with him that led me to begin my master’s with a specialization in Aging and Health and lead me to my MSW I placement with Hospice of Dayton.

Deciding to become a social worker was an exciting experience for me. Summer of 2020 I was away with family, and we were discussing my decision to continue to graduate school. I had just finished up a meeting with the editorial team for Knots, a Disability Journal in Toronto who were preparing to publish my first piece alongside many other Disabled authors and artists. I felt pulled to continue writing, my bachelor’s is in comparative literature which has provided me with a wonderful background in engaging with and exploring stories in languages and cultures unfamiliar to me. In making my decision to apply for social work, I knew these skills would follow me, and that working with people in new and creative ways to change spaces was what made me feel like I belonged. I have realized over time how much writing brings to social work and how necessary it is in the field when researching, communicating, and collaborating. Importantly, I’ve also come to learn how important community is, in particular, my Disability networks, multi-generational friendships, and Queer family. There are so many important stories within communities.

I have been blessed to work with community-based social workers since I was young, and the social workers I have known have been strong community advocates, feminists, and writers. Their work continues and provides healing and support for many day to day. Although I knew my social work path would be my own, it is the women I met who provided me care and support through transition to Disability that set the example of what social workers are.

Over the past couple years, while completing my Master’s, I have done so much more work not only with writing, but with many other collaborative projects, than I ever would have guessed. Although I still continue writing endeavors strictly for the fun of them (I’ve helped lead the creative writing club on campus), and I believe in what Adrienne Marie Brown calls “Pleasure Activism,” a lot of my work has come to be centered around my Disabled Identity, and the Anti-Abelist Practices that are so crucial to the work of all social workers. My work continues to be interdisciplinary, and all of it uses my social work skills. On any given day I write, dance, mentor, and listen to shared stories amongst others. I start my week in the OSU writing center, continue in the dance and automated computer and animated design lab, and finish in Stillman Hall. My social work skills travel with me the whole way. I am proud of the ways I’ve been able to engage in social work through embodied practices, restorative workshops, and relationship building. Some of my favorite projects right now are an interdisciplinary dance group to develop Disability inclusive dance pedagogy with the OSU Department of Dance, my thesis research, to discover connection and care stories in adaptive sporting, writing grief workshops (a collaboration between the OSU College of Social Work, the OSU Writing Center, and The James Cancer Hospital), as well as participating in advocacy efforts to stop transphobic legislation in Ohio.

My favorite thing about the OSU College of Social Work is the way that the field education staff, in particular the Director of Field Education, Katie Klakos, have collaborated with me to affirm Disability Work as Social Work, and expand space for this work in and outside the college of social work.

I believe strongly in education as a means for change, especially when it is a place of exploration and personal growth. As I continue to grow as a social work student, I am working on the design of a cross-disciplinary Disability Justice course, and I look to create more educational opportunities and spaces for joy around adaptation, collective access, and community care. I applied to the OSU PhD program to continue this work.