We are thrilled to highlight the 2020 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 2020 students who have already made wonderful contributions to the field of social work! We are so excited to follow your continued success and contributions.
Kean has ben working within social work for three years and has interest in working with children, adolescents, transition-age youths. He currently interns at The Guidance Center, Long Beach where he provides individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, and facilitates presentations on socio-emotional learning to students and school staff. Kean is devoted to working with minority populations in schools to reduce the disparities seen in these children’s mental health and educational outcomes. He is a strong advocate for transforming school climate through destigmatizing mental health and increasing culturally-sensitive, accessible mental health practices in schools; both of which are critical factors in closing the mental health and educational gaps in marginalized communities. As a former collegiate athlete, Kean enjoys drawing from his love for basketball and kinesiology to provide creative mental health interventions to clients. Eventually, Kean aspires to attain a leadership role within schools to foster a school climate that advances preventive efforts for mental health disorders and school-wide mental health services.
Rebekah Gong is an MSW candidate at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. Prior to Berkeley, she has worked in mental health service and gender equality advocacy for vulnerable populations for years, including domestic violence survivors and sexual minorities. She holds a psychological counselor license in China, and a postgraduate diploma in gender, sexuality, and relationship diversity therapy from the UK. She provides clinical services in English and Mandarin.
Social work became a personal interest of mine not through professional or academic interest, but through intervention. At 19 years old I was in a challenging and life-endangering position. I was expelled from a university following my freshman year performance, I was in the throws of addiction, and I was completely unemployable. It was at this time that I was blessed to have my first interaction with clinical social workers. Through the experiences that I had seeking my own mental wellbeing, the fire for human service was lit within me.
Academically, I had to start again at the community college level. I then moved to USC where I graduated on the Dean’s List with departmental honors for my research in sociology. Throughout my academic career I volunteered as a mentor at Oakwood Family Treatment Centers, providing support and guidance to adolescents who were experiencing behavioral and substance abuse issues.
Following my graduation, I eventually started working as a residential counselor at Five Acres. My work there taught me volumes about crisis, behaviorism, and patience as a professional helper. While working at Five Acres I applied to the USC School of Social Work because I knew my heart was set on clinical practice. I was lucky to be accepted and awarded the Dean’s Leadership Scholarship which allowed me to pursue my education and truly begin my career as a social worker.
My first year field placement as a social work intern was with a small organization in South Los Angeles called the Francisco Homes. Here I provided clinical case management and brief therapeutic interventions to men who were on parole following life sentences in prison. I was honored to be able to share space with clients who had such unique forensic experiences and feel grateful and enriched to be exposed to their singular perspectives and positionality.
My second year, and current, field placement is at USC University Health Center in the Counseling and Mental Health department. Here I provide brief therapy to undergraduate and graduate students who present with issues ranging from anxiety and depression, to academic difficulties, to long standing family issues and trauma. I am being provided with truly top-shelf training and supervision that is growing me clinically and as a person. I am able to explore the psychodynamic avenues where I feel clinically at home as well as providing skills and strategies that my clients are able to use and benefit from immediately.