Meet the School’s 2020–2021 CSWE Master’s Minority Fellows
Three of our students have received fellowships from CSWE that will provide additional training in health disparities.
The disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on communities of color underlines the importance of the Council on Social Work Education’s Master’s Minority Fellowship Program, which supports MSW students in becoming culturally competent master’s-level behavioral health professionals available to serve racial/ethnic minority populations.
We are proud to announce that three of our students—Ashley Yerim Choi, Alison Chou, and Regina Honorat—have been named to the program’s 2020–2021 cohort.
Of their achievement, Tomomi Uetani, the School’s director of Career Services and Leadership Management, said: “The significance of this fellowship could not be more pronounced given both the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing racial injustice. The events of this year have highlighted the long standing systemic inequities that impact the health and well-being of BIPOC communities. Addressing these disparities is at the heart of our School’s mission. We are proud of our students and their commitment to this work, and confident that they will make the most of this additional training to advance these goals.”
We asked our three winners to tell us something about themselves, including what has inspired them the most in their educational journeys and how they foresee spending their careers.
ASHLEY YERIM CHOI
Previous degree: BA, International Relations and Global Studies
Current field placement: I am working as a psychotherapist in training at Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy.
Inspiration: The legacy of ancestral and continued queer and trans resistance in Korea inspired me to pursue my path in community healing for my fellow queer and trans Koreans, as well as other multilingual, immigrant, and low-income communities of color.”
CSSW shoutout: I credit Zerandrian Morris and their class on advocacy in social work practice, for informing my social work practice with anti-oppressive, anti-colonial, and anti-racist theories and values.
Career plans: I plan to start a therapy collective for low-income, working-class, undocumented, and/or unemployed queer and trans communities of color, where therapy is free. I believe that therapy is not the only place where healing happens. I will continue to work towards collective liberation from all forms of oppression in the field of social work and beyond.
Previous degrees: BA, Psychology and Hispanic Studies; MA, Spanish Applied Linguistics
Current field placement: I am working on getting certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy while completing a web-based training on Complicated Grief Treatment. I’ve also been volunteering on an international research project studying the mental health impact of the pandemic on frontline healthcare workers.
Inspiration: Many factors led to my passion for working with people of color and immigrant communities, including growing up the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and working with undocumented immigrants early in my career. The recent socio-political climate in the United States—in particular, the rampant racism and xenophobia—has only further fueled my dedication to working with these populations and other marginalized folx.
CSSW shoutout: I feel grateful to have been part of Catherine Shugrue dos Santos‘s Decolonizing Social Work class. It was a challenging and unique space where we students were able to create something powerful and transformational. The course helped me find my voice as a radical, anti-oppressive social worker.
Career plans: I’d like to work with Latinx, immigrant, and other BIPOC communities in clinical practice. I want to be part of the movement towards making mental and behavioral healthcare truly accessible for all.
Previous degrees: BA, Criminology and Law; BS, Psychology
Current field placement: I am working at the University of Florida Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital.
Inspiration: I am formed by my experience of working at a maximum-security treatment facility with residents who are either incompetent to proceed to trial or have been judged to be not guilty by reason of insanity.
CSSW shoutout: The course that has been the most helpful to me is Advocacy in Social Work Practice. Professor Andrés Hoyos helped me to discover the meaning of advocacy and the power a voice can have on a community.
Career plans: I aspire to work with minority youth within the criminal justice system who have mental health and/or substance use disorders. My goal is to reduce mental health stigma and find interventions that improve the quality of care for juveniles.