We are thrilled to highlight the 2022 recipients of the Jannette Alexander Foundation Scholarships. The Jannette Alexander Foundation for Clinical Social Work Education is a subsidiary non-profit education foundation of the California Society for Clinical Social Work. Each year, the Foundation awards $1000 scholarships to graduating MSW students who demonstrate excellence in clinical studies and practice. Congratulations to these inspiring 2022 students who have already made wonderful contributions to the field of social work! We are so excited to follow your continued success and contributions.
My name is Natalie Coreas Bernal. I am a San Francisco native and I received my Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) 11 years ago from San Francisco State University. I am currently a full time student at San Jose State University’s School of Social Work and 1 of 4, Advanced Standing students in this program. I am also employed full time as an Assessment Social Worker at the Golden Gate Regional Center. At my current employment, I empathetically conduct assessments with individuals that have an intellectual, developmental and/or physical disability. As a social worker, I have participated in effectively providing resources and services to diverse populations in various settings throughout the years. My goal when I graduate is to continue serving the community in a behavioral health setting, providing direct therapy to individuals whose primary and dominant language is Spanish. I love the work that I do and can’t imagine being anything other than a social worker.
I am passionate about helping the community and have done so tirelessly for years because I believe that we can only succeed by giving back to others, as others have done so for us at some point in our lives. My parents were both war refugees, whose second language was English. Growing up, I translated a lot for my parents, I faced acculturation and identity issues alongside my family. I faced poverty, hunger and many other hardships alongside them. I always felt loved by them. But, despite this, the broken systems that impact immigrant and communities of color by default also affect children. My father was incarcerated from starting when I was 7 years old for drunk driving, then imprisoned when I was 12 years old under the 3 strikes law. My biological mother had mental health needs that unfortunately, she could not find help with her limited English and two young children to care for during the time. To this day, I feel that if my mother and my father had been given the resources and support to succeed, they would have been different people. Maybe my life would have also been different. Due to my fathers incarceration and my mothers mental health, I was raised in an unofficial foster care situation for a few years by a family who was of Mexican origin. While of little means, they were selfless in their love. I feel that if it was not for them and my parents, despite all their imperfections, I would not be where I am today. My father eventually was released from prison, and reformed. He passed way last January 2021, right before I was accepted into this Masters in Social Work program at SJSU. My foster mother passed away last week. This degree, while I have worked hard all these years, would not be possible without the love and support of the people like them and communities that so selflessly assisted me throughout the way. This degree is dedicated to them. My hope with graduating is that I can make them proud and that I can change the systems of oppression that target communities of color, English second language communities and other oppressed groups: one therapy session at a time.
After graduation, my plan is to apply for my ASW and then my LCSW. My plan is to give back to my community in a behavioral health/ mental health setting as a bilingual Spanish speaking therapist. I am planning on applying to the fellowship program at Kaiser Permanente, that assists ASW’s with training to become therapists in the community. My goal is to assist the Spanish speaking community with therapy as I feel strongly that everyone should have access to mental healthcare in their dominant language, as it provides an opportunity for individuals to fu
Graduated in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from California State University, Chico. Previous to graduation, I volunteered at a transitional housing program for homeless families called Esplanade House. During the pursuit of my bachelor’s degree, I interned at a homeless shelter for women and children at Sabbath House, building rapport with the people in the houseless community as well as doing case management. Soon after graduating with my BSW, my community suffered from a deadly natural disaster known as the Camp Fire. I was employed to do outreach, advocacy, and intensive case management along with multiple agencies at a Red Cross Shelter. I have worked as a case manager at 6 Street Center for Youth, serving homeless youth ages 14 to 24 years old. I am currently interning at 6 street Center as a clinical intern, meeting with youth in a therapeutic setting. I am about to start a new position as an Outreach Coordinator for homeless youth as well as a facilitator of prevention and education on child sex trafficking and survivor care.
My decision to pursue a new career in Social Work in my late 30s had multiple catalysts. Previously I survived having jobs that were mainly heavy labor positions. After many years of labor jobs, janitorial and housekeeping, raising two children, and being in a long-term abusive relationship, I decided I needed a change. In 2015, I was on medical leave from my janitor job when I was invited to a meeting with local social workers, who were discussing their projects. At that moment I was surrounded by amazing and like-minded people, and later that night enrolled in college to become a social worker. Since then, I have become a single mother, raising two caring teenagers, navigating all the same resources I refer my clients, as I now strive towards my MSW from California State University, Chico. It was a hard decision to knowingly become impoverished and rely heavily on outside resources and support as I work toward my master’s degree. But the journey this past year has sparked a newfound appreciation of interdependence. Community is a resource everyone needs and I weave that knowledge into my work and my everyday life.
Upon completion of my MSW degree, I will pursue licensure to one day become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I will continue with recent part-time employment as an Outreach Coordinator with Homeless Youth Services at Youth for Change, where I will do assessments, crisis intervention in the field and supervise peer outreach workers. I will also be a facilitator in the local school system, educating and teaching the prevention of child sex trafficking. I hope to be hired on as a clinician at Youth for Change, working in anyone of their variety of programs helping foster youth and homeless youth. The trauma-informed work culture of Youth for Change would be a supportive environment to obtain my supervision hours and experience for my goal as an LCSW. At some point in my social work career, I would like to pursue a macro position doing policy work, with the hopes of preventing trauma on a larger scale.
My name is Jesse Ramirez and I am an Master of Social Work (MSW) candidate in the integrated health concentration at California State University, Long Beach. I previously served as the City of Hawthorne’s first Homeless Services Coordinator where I managed an access service center and outreach program for people experiencing homelessness. I also formerly worked as a Case Manager for Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT) where my caseload consisted of people living with HIV, seniors, immigrants, and Latinx Transwomen. At APAIT, I managed a transitional housing and rental subsidy program and co-facilitated a trauma-informed support group for Spanish-speaking individuals living with HIV/AIDS. My current social work field placement is with Victory Starts Now, a community based restoration program for people found incompetent to stand trial due to persistent and severe mental health illnesses. In this setting and in my previous practicum at SHIELDS For Families, Inc., I have facilitated individual and group counseling sessions in English and Spanish that incorporate mindfulness-based practices, motivational interviewing, solution-focused techniques, cognitive behavioral techniques, and psychoeducation with issues related to complex trauma, adverse childhood experiences, substance use, incarceration and immigration enforcement.
My research and clinical interests focus on enhancing and improving behavioral health practices, particularly examining the impacts of health, disease, and immigration enforcement among Latino/a/x immigrants. My MSW thesis is a qualitative phenomenological study that explores the unique needs and experiences of Latino/a/x immigrants who have been convicted of a DUI in Southern California. Throughout my time at CSULB, I served as a research assistant in two qualitative exploratory studies that analyzed how COVID-19 impacted the provision of social services for Latinx immigrants and their respective community practitioners in the United States. I plan pursue a doctorate in Social Welfare with the purpose of building culturally responsive behavioral health services for immigrants, refugees, men, and the Chicano/a/x & Latino/a/x communities.
Jesse previously served as the City of Hawthorne’s first Homeless Services Coordinator where he managed an access service center and outreach program targeted for people experiencing homelessness in encampments and freeway overpasses. He was able to bring more than $375,000 in grants for the City in order to create a specialized behavioral health outreach team. The community members he primarily served were economically disadvantaged, seniors, African-Americans, Latino/a/x, and people with co-occurring health challenges. Jesse has also worked as a Case Manager for Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT) where his caseload consisted of seniors and immigrant Latinx Transwomen. At APAIT, Jesse managed a transitional housing and rental subsidy program and co-facilitated a trauma-informed support group for Spanish-speaking individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Jesse seeks to gain more direct practice working with communities of color, specifically men and adolescents exposed to complex trauma. Jesse seeks to strengthen his clinical skills with providing evidence-based and trauma-informed interventions such as CBT, MI, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Narrative Therapy and psychotherapy. CSCSW’s Jannette Alexander Foundation for Clinical Social Work investment in Jesse will benefit his personal and professional development as a clinical social worker.
After graduation, I will seek employment in the mental health and behavioral health field. My intentional goal is to practice in community mental health where communities of color and immigrants reside. I am particularly interested in providing in-person clinical outreach services to people experiencing homelessness and/or in working in a setting where substance abuse/addiction is addressed and treated. In this respect, I could contribute to these agencies and to the community by providing bilingual and competent clinical services that most often are scarce and much needed. This is especially true in regards to the lack of both Spanish-speaking and Chicano cisgender male clinicians in the field. These plans will require me to apply to the BBS as I hope to gain clinical hours to reach my goal of becoming a licensed clinical social worker in under 5 years. After graduation, I will also continue to seek out research opportunities with CSULB and other accredited social work schools to conduct more inclusive qualitative studies focused on immigrants, immigration enforcement and substance use/abuse. After licensure, I plan on applying to a doctoral program in Social Welfare/Work in Southern California. Within the decade, I plan on creating a private practice with Medi-Cal beneficiaries as clientele and opening a separate community mental health agency focused on mental health services, behavioral health programming (collective space for NA/AA/& other self-help groups), and economic development services (entrepreneur workshops, budget management, etc.) targeted for low-income and immigrant communities in Los Angeles County.