"My BSW courses are very eye-opening, academically and personally, because they are helping me identify my worldview. Self-awareness, knowing who I am, and how I go about doing justice in the world is very important in social work."
Social justice is tied to action, and our BSW students experience learning. Lupe will spend 400 hours on-site at community agencies and organizations, working with, and advocating for, clients. It is an experience that will elevate her confidence and amplify the impact she makes in the world.
Hometown: Moline, Illinois
Lupe grew up in the Quad Cities and didn’t mind staying close to home for college. "I like that SAU is a Catholic university and for me, it was a great option." Now in her junior year, she's successfully tackling two majors and a schedule that includes working 15 hours a week in a before- and after-school program. "I like building relationships with kids who need extra attention," she says.
Why major in social work?
Lupe wants to empower children to learn, grow, and succeed throughout life, at first thinking she wanted to be a teacher. One day, walking on campus, she told a friend if she didn’t get accepted into the SAU Teacher Education Program, she would become a social worker. BSW Program Director Kristi Law, PhD, heard Lupe's words and took the time to tell her about the program and the skills she would gain. Social workers help children and communities thrive. It was a perfect fit.
How does your liberal arts education tie into social work?
We want students to explore new topics because the knowledge they gain is relevant. In a Theology class, Lupe is learning how different populations and cultures express and view Christianity. As a Latina, Catholicism is very ingrained in her culture. "It is eye-opening to learn about so many diverse perspectives and learn about oppression, too. In social work, cultural competency is very important because you serve so many populations."
Why pursue two majors?
Communication is at the core of empowering clients and Lupe wants to have the widest impact she can. While working on a project last year that focused on the mental health of children separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border, her commitment to add Spanish as a second major was reinforced. "There is such a need for bilingual counselors. Going into my career, I want to be able to communicate with everyone I work with," she says.
Why choose the BSW program?
Lupe wants to encourage and guide children, perhaps working as a school counselor or social worker, or within the foster care system. In our BSW program, she is gaining skills to work in a variety of settings such as one-on-one with children, with small groups, and with communities. "The program emphasizes all of these aspects, which increases my career options," Lupe says. "Every social work course I take expands my knowledge of social justice and how it can be applied throughout society. It is a value I will carry throughout my career."