Welcome to the School of Social Work, Dr. Villagrana!
After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Dr. Villagrana had her first taste of social work as a Children’s? Social Worker Trainee with the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles County. Little did she know that twelve years later she would return to the same Department as Chief of Research. Her inspiring journey along the way is filled with hard work, dedication, and a deep passion for the field of social work.
Dr. Villagrana was chosen to be part of the Title IV-E program while earning her Master’s of Social Work at Cal State Long Beach. While on the path of earning her MSW, Dr. Villagrana continued to work full time at the Department as an Emergency Response Investigator. Having juggled being a full time student, employee, and part of the Title IV-E program, Dr. Villagrana understands the busy lives of students, but wants social work students to know, “it is worth it when you are working in the field and helping clients.”
Dr. Villagrana credits her amazing co-workers and supervisors for being a great support system throughout her journey. Self care is extremely important and she wants students to always take time for themselves and “enjoy the things you do, even the little things.” Earning a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California was the next logical step for Dr. Villagrana because she wanted to conduct research on the need for services in the area of mental health for children and adolescents, particularly for minority youth. Dr. Villagrana completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Arizona State University, funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Heath Disparities.
San Diego State University School of Social Work offered the perfect home for Dr.Villagrana because she is able to conduct research and teach. One of her favorite things about teaching is witnessing the moment students see the need for research in the social work field. Dr. Villagrana is excited to continue her research and start teaching in the Spring Semester!
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Written by: Megan Clauson, MSW student