Class of 2010: Larry Pellegrini, MSW, School of Social Work

With two master's degrees, Larry Pellegrini hopes to make an impact in the mental health field.

<p>Lawrence Pellegrini, a master's student at the School of Social Work. Photo by Frank Dahlmeyer</p>
Larry Pellegrini, a master's student at the School of Social Work. Photo by Frank Dahlmeyer

Larry Pellegrini has always been interested in getting to know people.

“I appreciate where people come from,” Pellegrini says, “what makes people who they are, not just the superficial things, but their underlying substantive realities.”

A 2009 graduate of the University of Connecticut’s master’s of public administration (MPA) and certificate in non-profit management programs, Pellegrini is now completing a second master’s degree in social work (MSW), along with certificates in survey research, public financial management, and mental health and substance abuse.

Transitioning out of a seven-year career as an economist, Pellegrini had spent his previous career producing statistics on society in the past and present.

“I often would look at statistical trends and would wonder how government systems would adapt to such trends,” says Pellegrini. “Ultimately, I wanted to no longer report on society as we’ve experienced it in the past, but develop the social systems to help propel society into the future. Through a combination of academic and professional experiences, I’ve become most drawn to the field of mental health and substance abuse.”

Filling the shoes of a social work caseworker and administrator, Pellegrini recognizes “you have to understand what individuals need, and also understand how the larger systems that have been designed to help them are developed and run. For me, the way to inevitably change things for the better is to first understand all aspects of how things work now.”

UConn’s graduate programs have been a perfect fit for Pellegrini’s advancement into the field of social work.

“I don’t think I would ever be at the level I am at today unless I had access to the work study, internship, research, academics, and high degree of support, specifically from the School of Social Work and the Department of Public Policy,” says Pellegrini.

Pellegrini continues to set lofty goals for the future and would like to pursue opportunities that would allow him to capitalize on his skills and make a true impact. He hopes to work in a clinical capacity, teach part-time, and build upon existing research knowledge – tying all his interests together and constructing his career based on the things he enjoys doing most.