A Student Perspective on the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as

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The certificate program consists of 4 mandatory classes and a field placement that includes at least 30% time in Spanish. The four classes are:

1. Critical Perspectives in the Latino Context: taught by Oscar Samoza, this class is a great way to get a taste for using Spanish academically and to draw upon the wealth of knowledge Oscar brings to the table. Less focused and structured than other classes, this was also a great space to get to know classmates and hear about Oscar’s background. This was on class that was always a joy to go to. Oscar is open to discussing anything anyone may have curiosity about, including slang and Latino film. PMX6

2.Social Work and Mexican Culture: this class is the trip to Puebla, MX. I know in the future students will have the option of going to Costa Rica which honestly saddens me a bit. Especially if you are invested in the politics of immigration and working with Latinos/as in Colorado, Mexico seems indispensable. The two weeks in Puebla ended up affecting me very profoundly as a Mexican-American and as a social worker. While the immersion part of the trip is really up to everyone in the room (and at times was difficult to keep up), the cultural immersion and educational components were extremely impactful in deepening my understanding of US-Mexico relations and the experience of everyday people.

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3. Social Work Interventions with Latinos/as: this was a great way to continue connecting with students from the trip as well as others passionate about affecting change with/for this population. This course covered a wide variety of topics and lent itself to the clinical context, particularly challenging in Spanish. The guest speakers were fabulous and the site visits worthwhile. This might be tough for my fellow macro folks but helpful nonetheless.

4. Social Development in Latin America: I have yet to take this course and will updated when I do! So far, I have heard good things and know it will be offered over two weekends in English.

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Aside from the academic aspect of this program, there is a strong community-building component. Personally, I had hoped to make stronger ties at GSSW, however that can be a challenge with the quarter system where there are long breaks and extreme bouts of busy-ness. The certificate program was exactly what I needed and I feel very close to those in the program. The two people I roomed with are people I spend a lot of time with now.

In addition to classroom learning and friendship, the certificate coordinator, Stephen Von Merz is a really great support system. His experience and willingness to share expertise is invaluable. I personally have gained a lot from him being my adviser and have come to consider him a mentor.
PMX2All in all, the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as has been extremely formative in my graduate education, shaping my passions, cementing my language abilities, and linking me to amazing individuals.

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Why you should present at the Grad Research and Performance Summit

Last week, a group of students from the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as and I presented at the DU Graduate Research and Performance Summit (DU RAPS). Along with a handful of other MSW students, we contributed our perspective and shared a framework that can often be quite different from that of other academic programs.

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Specifically, we shared our experiential learning from the Puebla, MX trip and discussed our views on immigration, influenced both by our classroom learning and field experience. Overall,  presenting at DU RAPS was challenging and valuable as a growth experience. We were placed in a section titled “Power, Privilege, and Resistance” with one other presenter from GSSW, one from Performance Studies, and one from Communication Studies. I was proud to be contributing to the conversation from an applied perspective and to be learning from others with differing theoretical frameworks.

I want this blog to encourage others to present in the future. We make up a significant portion of the Graduate student population on campus (totaling at approximately 6,000). We have strong foundations in social justice, human rights, and ecological approaches. We bring a perspective that differs from other departments, in that we directly apply our learning every week in our field placements. Furthermore, as professionals in the field, I think it is important to have these interdisciplinary dialogues outside of our social work-framed conversations. After all, if our aim is to effect social change, we can’t be relegated to conversations amongst one another.

Logistics

Just to demystify DU RAPS, here are some (I hope) helpful insights about the summit:

  • You can present on research, you can perform a piece, or you can reflect on experiential learning (something we are extremely well-versed in doing :)).
  • The application process is somewhat simple with just a 250 word abstract for the presentation.
  • Presentations happen in break-out rooms that are themed to group the different presenters together. Rooms can hold up to 50 people. You have access to things like power-point or images if that seems appropriate.
  • Your presentation can be no longer than 10 minutes but it’s more of a gentle warning rather than a cut off.
  • The facilitator will draw connections between the presentations and ask for you to dialogue.
  • Everyone is very welcoming and in the spirit of encouraging this cross-disciplinary event.
  • There is free food!

I hope to see more GSSW presenters in the future and I hope we all grow from the interdisciplinary dialogues this event promotes.

Dancing with the Dean 3.0

Ever wondered what its like to see the Dean of a Graduate School dancing on a dance floor to the latest music? Well our students don’t have to wonder as they get to experience it first hand!

This year marks the 3rd year that GSSW has hosted Dancing with the Dean. This student program is designed to help students have a break from their studies, and have a fun evening of socialization, dancing, food, and drinks.

This year we had some great food such as:

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Great food provided by GSSW for all guests.

While GSSW Dancing with the Dean 3.0 is planned for students, the entire GSSW community is welcome to attend. Some staff and faculty attended including staff from the Office of Admission, and Office of Outreach. Many faculty also came to support the students and have a fun night out! A few alumni of GSSW surprised us with a visit along with all the partners, and family of our faculty, staff, and students.

One fun activity was the photo booth where students, staff, and faculty could have fun. Below are some sample pictures of how creative our students, staff, and faculty can be with their photo booth photos.

 

Thanks to Ann Petrila, Director of Field Education, and Clinical Associate Professor for watching over, and dressing up students with props!

Dancing with the Dean is a program that is becoming a tradition here in GSSW. The staff, faculty, and students thank everyone for coming out and having a fun night!

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Acknowledgements:

A BIG thank you goes out to the planning committee which included: Michael Acanfora – 1st year MSW student, Carrie Krol – 1st year MSW student, Richard Bishop -Program Coordinator, Linda Clark – Assistant Dean for Administration, Lynda Ricketson – Director of Development and Alumni Giving, Dr. Eugene Walls – PhD Program Director & Associate Professor, Dr. Romona Beltran – Assistant Professor, Karen Bensen – Assistant Dean for Community Academic Programs & Clinical Assistant Professor, Ann Petrila – Director of Field Education & Clinical Associate Professor.

GSSW closed in celebration of the Holidays

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

The Graduate School of Social Work & the University of Denver will be closed from Tuesday, December 25, 2012 – Tuesday, January 1, 2013 in celebration of the Holiday Season!

Thank you to everyone for your continual support of GSSW. Our school could not be the amazing community it is without everyone’s support, and contributions.

See everyone in 2013!

GSSW Faculty, Staff, Students, and Supporters

GSSW Alumni to be on ABC’s the Shark Tank

 

 

 

DU Alumnus Takes A Dip In ABC’s Shark Tank

 Megan Gage (formerly Boyle), a 2006 graduate of DU’s Graduate School of Social Work, will appear on ABC’s Shark Tank on January 4, 2013.  The popular business-themed reality TV show provides an opportunity for hopeful entrepreneurs to pitch their concept to very successful business men and women known as “sharks” in hopes of obtaining a powerful partner.

 Gage, founder of Hot Tot, will pitch her specialized children’s hair product line.  Founded in 2010, Hot Tot produces professional hair products for babies and children without the use of harsh or harmful chemicals.  Her eight-piece line offers specialized options designed to cleanse, condition and style immature (children’s) hair.

 

“Hot Tot was born shortly after my son,” Gage explains.  “I started mixing lotion and pomade in my little guy’s hair when he was an infant to give him a charming curl.  I was surprised by the number of people who would inquire about what product I was using to achieve his stylish look and became really passionate about health and safety issues after learning that many trusted children’s brands commonly use a long list of toxins in their products.  I combined natural ingredients with posh packaging and our Cabbage Patch-inspired scent to create something that was unlike anything else on the market.  While my brand has grown consistently in the eighteen months since our first product’s launch, I would love to partner with someone who has overcome the struggles of growing a small business into an international brand.”

 

Gage’s social work roots are evident upon first glance.  “I wanted my company to encompass various elements of inner and outer beauty.  I define a Hot Tot as a confident and stylish youngster who gives to their neighbor and cares for our planet and am committed to donating a portion of our proceeds to charities that benefit children.  It is important that my company’s impact reaches farther than those who are fortunate enough to use my products.  Even though I’m doing something outside of my studies, this element of feels very familiar.”

 Tune into Shark Tank on January 4, 2013 at 8pm on Denver’s Channel 7 to see if the sharks will bite!

 See picture below for some of her unique products! Wish her luck!!

 

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http://korbeladmissions.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/plzadmitmegmail-com/

http://korbeladmissions.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/plzadmitmegmail-com/

Thanks to Brad Miller, Director of Admission with the Korbel School of International Studies here at the University of Denver for this posting.

GSSW Admission Office echos Brad’s words. This is also food for thought in your professional journey as well! You don’t think email address is important, it is!

International Students here at the University of Denver

10% of the students at DU are International students. DU is also has around 6,000 graduate students, and around 5,000 undergrads.

Inclusive Excellence and Diversity are important part of the community at the University of Denver.

Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xToA4PzjFo0 for some student perspectives around their experiences at DU!