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Master of Social Work online program welcomes Scott Chyna

The Master of Social Work online program faculty come from all over the United States. Professor Scott Chyna hails from the windy city of Chicago, Illinois, obtaining his bachelor’s degree and Master of Social Work from Loyola University. 

After decades spent in the social work field and teaching at the University of Illinois and at Boise State as an adjunct instructor, Chyna recently accepted a position as a clinical assistant professor in Boise State’s Master of Social Work online program.

First-Generation Grad Discovers New Worlds

Chyna has always worked hard to achieve his goals. He credits his parents and family with inspiring him. “From a young age, my parents, who worked hard day-in and day-out, made mention of the need to attend college. They were not provided with the opportunity to advance beyond high school. In retrospect, they did what most parents universally do: ensure their children are provided with more opportunity,” he said.  

Professor Scott Chyna headshot.
Professor Scott Chyna, a new clinical assistant professor for the Boise State Master of Social Work online program.

“And while they believed that attending college was a stepping stone to financial stability, they also nurtured the importance of learning for internal self-advancement.” 

With dedication and encouragement from his family, Chyna became a first-generation college graduate. “Higher education allowed me to think critically and exposed me to a variety of classes and topics that weren’t on my radar – philosophy, theology, and the like,” he explained. My world expanded both in and outside the classroom.  The array of individuals I met and the exposure to experiences and cultures beyond my own was profound.”

Decades of Social Work Experience

After completing his education,  Chyna worked in various professional settings. Using his job experiences within the profession has given him much to discuss with his students. 

“My professional history is varied and extensive, and I hope this translates well for students in the classes I teach at Boise State. This also speaks to the versatility of a master of social work degree,” Chyna explained.

“I have provided direct clinical treatment in inpatient treatment settings, outpatient primary care settings and corporate settings.  I also have program management experience integrating mental health treatment in primary medical settings. I love the ability to use my professional examples when assisting students in synthesizing course material into everyday practice.”

Online Learning is in the Spirit of Social Work

Moving to Idaho was a big decision. “After a lifetime spent in the midwest, I decided to try something completely different and relocate to Boise (which, truth be told, is unlike me as I’m generally a risk-averse person). The move proved beneficial,” Chyna said.

“I’m proud to say that I’ve slept in a tent, whitewater rafted, and have a newfound appreciation for the simple pleasure of being in the mountains.”

“In the spirit of social work, an online program allows for equitability in access to education.”

Chyna’s decision to move and accept the faculty position in the social work program at Boise State was partly motivated by the program’s reputation and reach. “The online MSW program is unique as there are a variety of students from across the country,” he said. 

“The world is changing.  We can connect with others in a single keystroke and it’s exciting to take advantage of non-traditional methods of teaching and learning.  The online MSW program allows students, who perhaps would not be able to obtain an advanced degree in a traditional setting due to geographic location or life circumstance, to have a place at the table in higher education, so to speak. In the spirit of social work, an online program allows for equitability in access to education.”

The Rewarding Experience of Graduate School

Chyna has excellent advice for anyone still feeling overwhelmed or unsure at the thought of graduate school.

“Grad school was my most rewarding educational experience.  By that point I had a strong foundation of what makes a student successful and I was studying something I was passionate about,” he said. 

“Take it one step at a time. Get to know your professors and department staff. Recognize there will be a learning curve, and there is built-in support for you. We want you to succeed and will help even out the rough edges.”

An important element of Boise State Online’s Master of Social Work is field work, which can be an enriching and challenging experience for graduate students. Overall, it’s critical for a master’s student’s growth and learning. “My tips for field success include honing the skills of adaptability and flexibility.  Explore the possibility of working with a client population you haven’t considered.  Some of the most rewarding and transformative experiences are those we seemingly fall into,” Chyna said.

Our World Needs Social Workers

Since joining the social work department, Chyna has already recognized the unique opportunities created by the fully online master’s program. “The Master of Social Work online program is unique as there are a variety of students from across the country. This makes for an enriching experience and opens the door for learning from peers. We have students located in rural areas, major cities, and every place in between,” he explained.

“Our world needs social workers. Our country needs social workers. Our state and city need social workers.”

“The student composite is expansive, and the discussions generated are fascinating.  As one can imagine, providing a social work intervention in New York City is vastly different from providing a social work intervention in Twin Falls, Idaho.  If one purpose of education is to introduce experiences outside of one’s own, we accomplish this tenfold in the online program.” 

Like all Boise State social work faculty, Scott Chyna’s passion for his field is evident. “Our world needs social workers. Our country needs social workers. Our state and city need social workers. One only needs to turn on the news and witness pain and suffering in local, national and global communities,” he said.

“For me, the profession is a calling rooted in providing affirming service to create a just and equal society.” 

Hear From More Social Work Online Faculty

Boise State University welcomes Professor Scott Chyna and celebrates the dedication and commitment of our social work faculty and staff. Read more of their stories: 

Meg Omel
Pia Valere-Adams
Jennifer Obenshain

Learn more about the Master of Social Work Online at Boise State University

Boise State Online’s Master of Social Work is designed to prepare students for advanced social work practice with individuals and families. Students learn clinical, organizational and policy skills necessary for promoting social justice and equality and enhancing the quality of life for all people. With no out-of-state tuition and 100% online coursework, our program provides you the flexibility to get your master’s degree.

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