Name: Joanna Keintz
Organization Involvement: Latino Student Social Work Association
Graduation Year: May 2015
Why did you choose to pursue a career in social work?
Although it’s been a long journey in finding the field in which I am truly passionate about, deep within me I knew I wanted to be in the helping profession. Several life experiences have led me to the field of social work. As an adolescent, I experienced a very traumatic event and I did not receive the services necessary such as therapy due to my culture and the lack of knowledge on the importance of receiving such services. However, these life events motivated me to make a difference in other individuals’ lives, especially at-risk youth, by assuring that they receive the services necessary in order to steer them away from unhealthy coping behaviors.
What made you apply to the School of Social Work at SDSU?
I transferred to SDSU from a community college, but I always wanted to be an Aztec. My sister who also attended San Diego State informed me about the great programs that SDSU offers. Shortly after identifying San Diego State University School of Social Work’s commitment to the relief of human distress and inequality and to meeting the social, psychological and economic needs of human beings, I became eager to attend this University.
Describe your most memorable experience in the School.
My most memorable experience at San Diego State University was last year at Explore SDSU. Over the past years LSSWA [Latino Student Social Work Association] has won the best table in regards to the topic “Think Globally, Act Locally.” My student organization won $100, which we used to donate to several agencies in Tijuana. This was a very memorable event, and extremely rewarding knowing that the money was used for a good cause.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will be graduating with my Bachelor’s in Social Work May 2015, and I was recently informed that I was admitted into the 2 year MSW program at SDSU. Therefore, I will be attending the MSW program in August of 2015. Clearly, as I envision my future, I see a Master’s degree with a concentration in direct practice along with the expertise and skills necessary to provide services to at-risk youth and families who have experienced trauma.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the program?
The social work profession, as I mentioned, is my passion. I love all my classes and I’ve learned so much in every single one of them since attending SDSU. In fact, all the professors in the social work department are very helpful, they enjoy teaching, are very understanding, and extremely knowledgeable about the social work profession. Another great aspect of the program is the internship requirement, which allows us to practice what we have learned in class and apply it out in the field.
Describe why you would recommend SDSU to potential students.
First of all, the school is wonderful and it encourages student involvement, which leads to success in my opinion. There are many wonderful student organizations on campus to fit the values and goals of each individual student. In addition, the campus is beautiful, we have an amazing library, and it is a very diverse campus, which is highly important in my perspective.
Where is your current internship? And describe what a usual day is like at your internship.
My current internship placement is at Vista Hill Perinatal Case Management Program in La Mesa. I work with women who are parenting or pregnant and have a history of substance abuse. Most of these women have had severe childhood trauma that led them to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with their stress. Many have experienced child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence, and currently suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. Many of our clients have an open case with Child Welfare Services due to the trauma that they experienced as a child or as an adolescent. My goal with these clients is to not only help them with their recovery, but also by encouraging them to continue seeing their therapists so that they can successfully heal from past trauma and become better parents. A usual day at my internship consists of home visits, assessments to identify the client’s needs, connecting clients to community resources, support, advocacy, and assisting in facilitating a process group. Through this internship, I learned the positive outcomes that social workers provide to our clients, and it led me to analyze the high demands of services that are needed in the community by women who are in recovery due to past trauma and mental illnesses.
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