In the upcoming 2020-21 academic year, Ivan Noriega will be a second-year Master of Social Work (MSW) candidate within the SDSU School of Social Work. He is pursuing the direct practice route as he aspires to work in Protective Services for a California Child Welfare Services agency upon graduation. In the longer-term, he plans to pursue licensure, work as a school social worker, and ultimately receive his Ph.D. in social work.
An active student, Noriega has sought out an abundance of leadership experience, including serving as:
- President of the SDSU Latino Social Work Association
- President of the SDSU Association of School Social Workers
- Treasurer of OUTreach and the Indigenous Social Work Alliance
- Committee member of the SDSU School of Social Work’s “All School Day” planning committee alongside San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency administrators.
Noriega speaks highly of his time within the MSW Program. “The most meaningful part of the School of Social Work has been its attentiveness to students, and supporting students with their individual endeavors. The school truly stands by its motto of ‘Cultivating knowledge for global change…one community at a time.’ The entirety of the student body is fostered to have a supportive community in which we are provided the tools and resources to accomplish anything we want. It has inspired me to think about my future when I receive my MSW and go to postgraduate school. I would like to become a professor of social work in order to teach the next generation of social workers like SDSU has done with me.”
In addition to his leadership positions, Noriega also has a significant background in research, including:
- Assessing the effectiveness of an after school reading program on reading levels in El Cajon, CA.
- Assisting in a study examining the associations between the legalization of Marijuana in 2018 and the outcomes of child welfare involved caregivers who tested positive for marijuana use.
- Participating in the San Diego County Homeless Census Count, an assessment of the basic needs and services of this population, and the magnitude of the homeless presence in San Diego.
- Leading a bi-national multidisciplinary conference on migration and human trafficking in collaboration with the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma. This event was organized to showcase research that especially addressed the concerns of Central American Migrants coming to the U.S. in 2018.
- Creating a research proposal to implement an anti-hazing intervention for Greek organization systems in universities. The proposal includes a pre-and post survey of the research participants, as well as specific interventions such as team-building techniques and psycho-education on the mental health effects of individuals who have experienced hazing.
In recognition of his many accomplishments, Noriega was recently awarded a competitive Master’s Research Scholarship from the SDSU Division of Graduate Affairs. This scholarship is designed to provide direct financial support to excellent SDSU master’s students who contribute to research, scholarship, or creative activity in their field. Along with this award, Noriega received $10,000 to support the cost of his education at SDSU.
This scholarship will support Noriega in his final year as he pursues his graduate thesis project, in which he plans to assess the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on graduate-level social work students. Through his research he will examine the stress levels of MSW students, as they prepare to serve the mental health needs of others while balancing school work, personal responsibilities, and the completion of a 480-hour internship. His research will assess coping mechanisms and lifestyle factors that can have an effect on their stress levels and mental health.
“This scholarship has given me an opportunity to be able to focus my research on the effects that COVID is having on MSW students and figure out ways to best support my colleagues during this pandemic, as well as future events of this magnitude,” says Noriega. “This scholarship also means a lot, given how much I have had to sacrifice with taking care of my mother and my family, and progressing through my education in order to be able to support them and take advantage of the opportunity I have been given.”