Sundari Birdsall ’21 MSW, School of Social Work

Sundari Birdsall reflects on her time at UConn

Head shot of Sundari Birdsall

Sundari Birdsall (Contributed photo)

Why did you choose UConn?
I chose UConn because of the students; I knew I’d learn as much from my School of Social Work classmates and I did from my teachers.

What activities were you involved with as a student?
The best extracurricular I did in graduate school was the Urban Health Scholars program, a two-year interprofessional training program that teaches cross-disciplinary communication skills to health care professionals. I also got involved with teaching yoga classes for many different organizations—the UConn Learning Communities, Yoga at the Benton, UConn Student Health and Wellness, UConn Recreation, and I was the advisor for the UConn Yoga Sangha student club.

What’s something you learned in a class that you’ll always remember?
I remember Prof. Alex Gitterman told me in my first clinical year to be proud of the social work profession, and to reflect my pride by referring to myself as a “worker” rather than a “therapist” or “counselor.” Ever since then, I use the term “worker” exclusively when I write my case notes.

What’s one thing that surprised you about UConn?
I’m surprised by how much I like Northeastern Connecticut; how much Storrs and UConn feels like home to me.

What’s one thing every student should do during their time at UConn?
The Sunset/Sunrise Yoga events on Horsebarn Hill are magical; I feel so small and yet so connected, being out in nature in a big group.

Who was your favorite professor and why?
Dr. Scott Wetstone and Dr. William Shaw from Public Health stand out because they taught me how to properly read, interpret, and critically evaluate academic research. Also Gio Iacono, who runs his social work class like a group therapy session and whose commitment to anti-racism helped wake me up.