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Cedarville professor Dr. Mark Caleb Smith on a television newscast.

India Becomes New Frontier for Social Work Students

by Kathryn Sill, Public Relations Writer

A pair of social work students from Cedarville University recently completed their field placement in India. This is the first time in university history where social work students completed a field project in India.  

Leane Ewert, from Wichita, Kansas, and Kennan Schwartz, from Bluffton, Indiana, both juniors, studied from July to November at Madras Christian College in Tambaram, a suburb of Chennai--India’s fifth-largest city.

Schwartz chose India, in part, because he was intrigued by its art and culture, but also because the church he attends during the academic year, First Grace Brethren in Dayton, is hoping to extend its missions work to India. 

Ewert did her field placement with Gate of Hope, a ministry that partners with Compassion International to work with the children in the community as well as their families by meeting their physical and spiritual needs.

“I worked with a team that went on house visits to meet with parents and discuss their needs,” said Ewert. “I also spent time with the children and helped teach a class to adolescents that addressed issues surrounding mental health.”

Schwartz’s field placement saw him travel nearly three hours round trip, two times a week, to Sri Ramachandra University Hospital, a government facility in Chennai. He made the trek via public transportation and a rickshaw, a two-wheeled vehicle that is similar to a bicycle and is popular in many Asian countries. He worked in the hospital’s psychiatric ward with patients dealing with depression, dementia, alcoholism and other drug addictions.

“Patients in the psychiatric ward often had mental illnesses that were caused by family related issues, which was sometimes abusive situations,” Schwartz said. “I once had a patient that claimed to hear voices in his head that told him to hurt himself, and it was a result of familial abuse.”

In each difficult situation they witnessed, Ewert and Schwartz found that they both learned a great deal about God’s love for each person.

“It is easy to love people for a week,” said Ewert. “But because I was there for four months, I was able to see how God’s love works in more intricate and lasting ways. I came with a heart ready to learn, and God taught me to see the love of Jesus.”

For more information on Cedarville’s extensive international programs, visit

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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