Cheryl James is a first-generation college student and is passionate about empowering students to pursue higher education. An an alumna of SDSU School of Social Work, she received her undergraduate and Master’s degree in Social Work from SDSU and has over twenty years of clinical social work experience. Cheryl also holds a professional license in the field of social work and has had the opportunity to work in several fields of practice. She developed an expertise in providing trauma focused therapy to children, teens, and adults from her years at Rady’s Children Hospital and in her private practice. In addition, she has worked as a case manager for a Managed Care company, provided intensive crisis intervention, worked with seniors in the fields of depression and home health, and provided school social work. Cheryl strongly believes in connecting theory to practice. Bridging her passion for clinical social work while working at Rady’s, she thought, “How can I provide clinical services to vulnerable populations where funds for psychotherapy may be limited?” Because social work has such an eclectic theoretical base and utilizes a system framework to assess, she was afforded the opportunity to co-write a grant to provide intensive psychotherapy to children and adolescents within several urban communities in San Diego. In addition to providing direct clinical practice, Cheryl has also had a passion for working within the African American community and has been actively involved with the National Council of Negro Women, NAACP, San Diego Urban League and the Children’s Hospital Auxiliary South East Cluster Unit.
Mrs. James began her teaching career at SDSU in 2014 as a lecturer and was recently promoted as the MSW Admissions Director. Cheryl is very excited to go outside the profession to recruit prospective students and looks forward to working with them in their future endeavors. She also hopes to motivate and encourage undergraduate social work students to “think about themselves as a six-year student, get their MSW, and make an impact in the profession”. As a lecturer in the School of Social Work, Cheryl teaches undergraduate 110, 120, and 483a courses to incoming social work students. Chery said she enjoys teaching these courses because, “I love seeing the excitement in my students’ faces, as they learn about social work and the impact they can make in someone’s life.” This experience helps to reawaken her passion for the profession. Her teaching methods include incorporating clinical case vignettes, videos, and by inviting guest speakers that help bring to life real social work practices.
Cheryl is always looking for ways to be innovative in her career and to find new techniques to stimulate resilience in victimized populations. Within that frame of mind, she co-owns a martial-arts studio with her husband. They provide classes in which they aim to bridge intrapsychic processes with physical self-protection with the goals of helping students increase feeling of confidence and self-worth while learning to recognize harm and threat. They provide Child Self Protection seminars for kids within their community.
Cheryl wishes to inspire students to be self-advocates along their career path and promote honesty about their strengths and limitations as they develop into the profession. She believes very strongly in self-care and enjoys hiking, gardening, doing crafts and spending quality time with her family exploring different parts of the San Diego community. Finally, her advice to social work students is, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it!”
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written by: Claudia Gonzalez, MSW student