Alumni Spotlight: George Turner '12
MSW, University of Kansas
Kansas City, MO
Turner Professional Group
Associate Professor of Practice, The University of Kansas
My Widener Experience
why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree in human sexuality studies?
As a social worker, I understood the importance of my clients' sexuality. I wanted to honor that part of their life. So many of them desired to talk about their sexual 'woundedness,' telling me other practitioners shied away from the topic. Sexual misuse, myths, misinformation, and shame often accompanied my patients into my office. I wanted to increase my proficiency beyond my certification as a sex therapist. Bringing my patients the best care in sexual health became a part of my business strategic plan, so earning a PhD from an accredited program became my goal.
who was your favorite professor at widener? why?
From my first Widener class, Dr. Satterly, stands out as my "teacher hero," his accessibility, humor, and solidness as an instructor remains the gold standard I aspire to in my own classroom. As an academic, Dr. McCaffree set a tone of excellence that is the bedrock for my pedagogical approach with students. She is a teacher's teacher. Dr. Stayton was a gifted master clinician who effortlessly modeled therapeutic skills.
Finally, I have been lucky to be mentored by Dr. Crane. She is a brilliant scholar with an innate ability to connect theory with application. I am grateful for her patience in bridging my clinical skills with research. What I’ve noticed is that the CHSS faculty members are generous with their time, their expertise, and their guidance. I have appreciated sitting at the feet of these sage sexologists.
My Professional Experience
what advice would you give a prospective student considering your graduate program?
1. Prep family and friends to make the journey; gather cheerleaders to encourage you.
2. Attend the study abroad.
3. Socialize with your cohort; these are your future professional colleagues.
4. Let off steam when you can. Hit Philly for a great dinner after class.
5. Commuters, build a routine (e.g., same parking space at the airport).
6. Be tenacious and keep your eye on the prize. Don't get distracted.
7. Celebrate along the way.
8. Reach out to faculty and build collegiality.
9. Generously share your gifts with peers and learn from them.
10. Have fun!
what do you like most about your current position?
I love mentoring new social work students, challenging them to incorporate sexuality into their practice and become better clinicians. I am privileged to journey with people, often witnessing profound healing. It might be a student needing reassurance coming out, a couple struggling with sexual dysfunction, or person trying to find his or her voice.
I work with my best friend, talking about sexuality all day; that's a great day at the office. I bring a richer understanding of sexuality, helping people discover the gift of positive, joy-filled sexuality and human connectivity. I like to think I get to make a difference.