Social worker Marta Armata ’04 found her purpose after transferring to Elms College. The Warsaw native now helps people find the resources they need to succeed in society.

A Life-Changing Decision

Exactly 4,135 miles separate Warsaw from Chicopee, MA. Marta Sochaczewska Armata ’04, a graduate of the social work program at Elms College, made her way from the metropolis to the countryside thanks to a chance encounter with a faculty member traveling abroad.

“When I was at university, Prof. Scott Hartblay came to my class,” Marta said. “He spoke about Elms and its program, and he was so passionate about it that I decided to look into it more.”

Photo of Marta Sochaczewska Armata '04, a social work graduate

After discussing her career plans with her parents, Marta made the transatlantic voyage to New England. The fact that she was able to continue her studies at a college with Christian values made a big difference to her. The cozy size of the Elms campus had the added benefit of creating a home away from home.

“I came from a university where you were unrecognizable because thousands of people attended the school,” Marta said. “Elms is small, intimate, and the professors know who you are. You have face-to-face interaction in class. These things helped me make the transition.”

Advanced Practice Social Work

In two short years, Marta completed her studies at Elms and entered the fast-paced world of social work. The admission process at Elms played a significant part in her success, she said, namely due to the school’s willingness to accept transfer credits.

“Elms honored my courses from Poland,” Marta said, who studied psychology at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. With the majority of her prerequisites taken care of, she was able to focus on gaining real-world experience to prepare for her career.

‘It was all about the internship experience and advanced practice social work for me. Solving problems and working with people directly — that was life-changing.’

Completing a 400-hour internship at Baystate Medical Center was a beneficial way to see theory in action, Marta said. Not only did she get a firsthand look at the fast-paced world of health care, she also made valuable job connections by interacting with different professionals.

“Before I graduated, I already had a job, guaranteed,” she said. “A hospital is the best place to be, because you have access to so many resources.”

Making Positive Change

For three years, Marta worked as an intake and referral specialist for Great Springfield Senior Services. When she and her husband decided to start a family, they moved to Connecticut, where Marta began exploring other career opportunities. She quickly found a job as a caseworker with Connecticut Community Care, an organization that works closely with the state’s department of social services.

‘What I do is help people transition from institutions to the community. For each and every person I meet, I create a personalized care plan to make sure they have the services and resources they need to be successful.’

One of the reasons she enjoys social work, Marta said, is that every day is different. Whether she is helping someone manage a physical disability, a mental health issue, or a substance abuse problem, she finds fulfillment in giving people the tools they need to enjoy everyday life.

“Giving people a second chance is incredibly rewarding,” she said. “With just a little help, someone can be at home because of you.”

In April 2019, Marta will reach a 12-year milestone at CCC. Her passion for helping others serves as motivation for continuing her work.

“Social work is so hands-on,” she said. “I’ve always liked working with people and being in the field, making positive change.”