Tina Atherall, DSW

CEO, PsychArmor Institute
New York, New York

Director of Social Work Career Development and Enrollment Management, Touro College
New York, New York

Where do you work, and what is your role?

I work for Touro College Graduate School of Social Work in New York City. I am the director of Social Work Career Development and Enrollment Management as well as the faculty lead for the Military Social Work fellowship.

Why did you pursue a DSW?

I have spent the last few years working with mentors on my next steps in my professional career and education. It was a difficult decision between investing in a PhD program or a DSW program. The DSW program provides a wide space to think differently, think outside the box and, most importantly, lose the pounds of restrictions that we often place on ourselves as professionals.

What made you decide on USC for your doctoral education?

First and foremost, I have always wanted to be a Trojan! Second, I have worked with USC’s Online MSW program in the past. I would not have considered online education because I love the personal connection; however, my experience with the Online MSW as a field instructor provided me with the confidence that I could excel and enjoy being an online student.

Lastly, USC’s DSW was the very best choice for me. Even though I work in NYC and live a short commute from some of the best social work schools in the nation, I did not have the ability to reduce my work hours to be in class one to two days per week. The Online DSW allows me to fit it all in.

Which Grand Challenge did you choose, and why?

The Grand Challenge that was my initial focus was eradicating social isolation. However, as I began the class assignments, I began to work on the Grand Challenge “Achieve Equal Opportunity and Social Justice.” I am a woman, a mother and a compassionate global citizen. Gender equality and ending violence against women and girls is the foundation for a successful society. I feel starting with this Grand Challenge, I can reach to the devastating effects of social isolation when inequalities occur.

What advice would you give prospective students?

In the beginning, there are a ton of emotions like excitement, fear, anxiety, creativity flowing like a waterfall, and you can get lost in having to decide your path in the DSW program quickly. I was encouraged and share the same encouragement to all joining the DSW adventure: Sit back, work hard, and enjoy the two years of being a student and exploring all possibilities.