Alumnus Profile: Keith Peterson


After attending Bethany, Keith got a Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU), graduating in December, 2013. He now is an Adult Services Social Worker for Mahnomen County Social Services in Mahnomen, Minnesota (White Earth Reservation).

WHAT DO YOU DO • • • I am currently a Licensed Social Worker and work for Mahnomen County in Adult Services. I am the Blue Cross Care Coordinator and Case Manager. Programs I work with are Elderly Waiver, Alternative Care, and Certified MnChoices Assessor. I assist with Intake Social Work on a monthly basis and attend conferences and training through the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In April of 2015 I received an Excellence Award for Case Management skills.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • Back at Bethany in my Sociology program, I took several classes in a wide range from theory to collective behavior and social movements and was drawn to work in the government sector.

HOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE • • • I want to make a difference in the way society views elder care with the shift in demographics as the baby boomer generation retires. I also want to work with policy makers to change the view at the upper levels to improve the quality of care people receive in their rooms and at other medical care facilities.

HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • The courses I took in sociology laid the foundation to prepare me for further study of social work at MSU. I took several classes on aging from Professor Patti Lind and Dr. Kessel during my Bethany career. At the end of my senior year I had great experiences as an intern with the Greater Mankato Diversity Council under Executive Director Bukata Hayes and Professional Mentor in the realm of cultural diversity. It was in that internship that I learned of how several other backgrounds viewed the care and respect for the elderly populations. This helped me in my path at MSU with my senior practicum at Benedictine Living Community of St. Peter to prepare for my current career. 

WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT BETHANY • • • I was involved in concert band and jazz band and had the chance to travel to different areas. Freshman year on spring break I traveled to Disney World with the band. I also remember having discussions with Bukata Hayes at the Multi Ethnic Center on various social topics of the day and engaging with other students with different backgrounds than my own. Another great memory is when Dr. Kessel gave me permission to email the entire faculty and staff at Bethany to see who was a Green Bay Packers fan for a sociology assignment in collective behavior.

ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • Don't wait until you are a junior or a senior to get involved in an internship. Start when you are a freshman, this will help give you an idea of what career path and classes you should take to get into the field you want. Ask questions.