The Jannette Alexander Scholarships are given annually to graduating MSW students for recognition for excellence in their clinical work. In the past, the scholarship committee has chosen six winners, each of whom received a $500 scholarship. This year the CSCSW board voted to give three $1000 scholarships, in view of the fact that there has been considerable inflation since the scholarship fund was started. The scholarships were awarded to the following outstanding applicants. We received scholarship applications from many qualified applicants, making the selection process difficult. The following are their professional autobiographies.
I am a passionate clinical social worker who enjoys building a rapport with my clients and assisting them in identifying and realizing their goals. I practice cultural humility to learn about them and build a strong relationship with them so they can explore their experiences and identify goals during our sessions. I was born and raised in Japan. Upon coming to the United States, I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree, both in psychology, from San Francisco State University. I worked as a researcher and an evaluator in mental health and education settings before returning to school to obtain an MSW. I have served as a crisis hotline counselor in San Mateo as well as in Tokyo, Japan. Currently I serve transitional age youth and adult clients with serious mental illnesses and dual diagnoses at the Central County Clinic of San Mateo County. I am looking forward to assisting people further and learning more about clinical social work.
After I graduate I hope to work with individuals and families struggling with mental health issues. I am interested in working at a school as well as in a private practice or group practice setting.
My name is Yeny Guarin and I am a student at California State University, Long Beach, earning a master’s degree in social work. My family moved to Houston, Texas from Colombia when I was eight years old. I recall waking up at five in the morning in elementary school to make Mexican tamales to sell after school. Watching and many times helping my family work numerous odd jobs fired up in me a determination to pursue higher education. When I was 17 years old I moved to the home of my aunt, a foster mother in Los Angeles. During my time there, I had the opportunity to meet teens that had hard childhoods. As I was learning about their stories, I felt indignation and wanted to do something. I learned about social workers, who had the power to advocate. Once again I knew that the key to effectively help those around me had to be with higher education. My goal was to finish high school as quickly as possible and attend college. As a result, I did my junior and senior years at the same time. I am fortunate to attend a university that has introduced me to empowering professors, who taught me the value of mental health and how that affects a person emotionally, physically, and socially.
Upon graduation, I plan to work for an agency or organization that provides mental health services. My goal is to start working on my hours to obtain my license as a clinical social worker. I have worked in non-profits and currently I am doing my internship in one. I enjoy medical social work.
While working in Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez’s office, Yeny spoke with him about undocumented students who did not qualify for grants or financial aid. As a result of their conversations, Mr. Gomez introduced AB-2000, which allowed undocumented students to qualify for financial help. This bill is now a law.
Kelly Hansen has over 12 years of experience working with individuals and their families in community mental health. Kelly received their MSW from California State University of the East Bay and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and cultural anthropology with an emphasis in gender, sexuality, and feminist theory from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Kelly has compassionately supported a diverse spectrum of individuals from all walks of life. Their experience covers a wide range of issues, from people who are working through complex trauma histories, to substance use, HIV/AIDS diagnoses and survival histories, grief and loss, caregiver fatigue, different physical and cognitive abilities, and LGBT/queer and gender non-conforming identity growth and discovery.
Kelly identifies as a non-binary queer individual who grew up in the Bay Area. With a family history riddled with mental health and substance use challenges, Kelly had to grow up quickly and learned what it meant to be a caretaker. Life challenges have taught Kelly that it is essential to know who you are, so that you can best serve others for who they are, not what you want them to be. As providers we must meet people where they are. Kelly is willing to sit with others in their most vulnerable time and bear witness to their present moment without judgment. Their resiliency has, and will, continue to give them a great capacity for empathy because of their own experiences with hate speech and oppression that persistently targets LGBTQI communities.
As a clinician, Kelly practices from a queer, client-centered, harm reduction based philosophy. They work to serve the underserved in a compassionate way. They fight against stigma and work to be an advocate for all communities in need. By empowering others and facilitating social change, they work to create a better world for all. Social justice work is Kelly’s life practice and purpose.
As a non-binary queer individual Kelly’s pronouns are they/them/theirs. These pronouns are present in their writing.