Spring 2015

CalSWEC Newsletter
CSULA School of Social Work Mission Statement
The MSW Program at California State University, Los
Angeles educates students to assume leadership roles in
professional practice. Our advanced urban generalist
graduates analyze, intervene, evaluate and advocate with
diverse, underserved, and oppressed clients and
Message from the CalSWEC Project Coordinator
Dear CalSWEC Students,
Issue 6, Spring 2015
In this issue
Message from the CalSWEC
Project Coordinator
Message from the Director of
the School of Social Work
Students Highlights:
Phillip Lu
Heidi Martinez
Stephanie Rush
This academic year has been full of exciting
innovations for the CalSWEC program.
During the 2013-14 academic year, we
launched the Title IV-E Field Model which
CalSWEC Student Day Photo
consists of 4 components: Mutual Partner5
CalSWEC Field Faculty & Staff
ship Activities; Field Instructor Recruitment
and Support; Placement Selection and Process; Field Curriculum. In our second year (2014-15) of the new
CalSWEC model, we continued with a revised curriculum for monthly specialized seminars, as well as
partnership activities with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and other Los
Angeles area schools. As part of a 3 year plan, we will gradually introduce aspects of the program, while
working to refine the curriculum.
In addition to moving forward with the field model, we have had educational and stimulating special events this
year. On Saturday, February 28, 2015, Philip Browning, Director of Los Angeles County Department of
Children and Family Services, came to the CSULA campus. His presentation to a joint seminar of 3 year
program MSW students was very enlightening and down to earth. This special presentation was made possible
through the efforts of our CalSWEC student, Stephanie Rush-Dawkins.
Another event is our annual CalSWEC statewide Title IV-E Student Day, an all-day conference that is planned
and coordinated by the Student Day Planning Team, composed of Title IV-E MSW student representatives
from the graduate schools of social work throughout California. The conference features speakers, workshops,
and networking opportunities for attendees. This year, Student Day was held on April 3rd. Our CSULA
CalSWEC representatives for this year’s event were Stephanie Rush-Dawkins and Kelly Burgos. I want to
acknowledge Stephanie for her participation for the past 2 years as a student representative for Student Day.
For this year’s event, Stephanie was elected to be one of the members of the executive planning team. Stephanie
has been a leader throughout her time as an MSW student in the 3 year program. Kelly Burgos, another
CalSWEC student leader, is a 1st year student in our 2 year program who volunteered to be on the planning
committee. Last year, Phillip Lu, current President of the MSWSO (Master of Social Work Student
Organization), was a Student Day committee representative. Many thanks to these outstanding CalSWEC
We are thrilled to acknowledge our graduating students from the 3 year program: Evelyn Aguirre, Olga Flores,
Davina Hill, Guadalupe Neri-Trolia, Cynthia Novoa, Stephanie Rush-Dawkins, Anna Safarian and Vanessa
Soto. Graduating from our 2 year program are: Jasmine Corona, Phillip Lu, Elizabeth Pascual and Ericka
Salazar. Congratulations on a job well done! We are all very proud of you.
Message from the Director, School of Social Work
Dr. Siyon Rhee, Interim Director of the School of Social Work
The CSULA School of Social Work aims to educate students to assume leadership
roles in professional practice. Our advanced urban generalist graduates are
equipped to intervene and advocate with diverse, underserved and oppressed
clients and communities. The CalSWEC Program at CSULA is instrumental in
fulfilling our mission under the leadership of Carol Mroz, the CalSWEC
Coordinator , together with our dedicated CalSWEC Field Faculty, Bridgette
Mitchell, Carla Bykowski, Rosa Leslie and Rosa Medina-Carrillo; Administrative
Analyst, Elizabeth Medina; and Administrative Assistant, Stephanie Glenn. We
are excited to be able to recruit a group of highly committed compassionate MSW
students who will make a significant difference in the field of child welfare.
Director of Field Education, Hermila Melero, LCSW
Hemila Melero, Director of Field Education, sends her greetings to all
CalSWEC students and wishes the upcoming graduates all the best in
their future plans.
Student Highlight: Phillip Lu, MSW Class of 2015
Phillip Lu is currently in his last year of the MSW program at
CSULA. Prior to his enrollment to the program, he has worked
at the LA LGBT Center where he provided direct services to
LGBT homeless youth, ages 12-24 in Los Angeles. It is here
where he grew a passion for working with the transgender
community. He immediately recognized that transgender
youth are disproportionately represented amongst the
homeless youth population.
For his last year of internship, Phillip is placed at DCFS in the
Pasadena office. Through his interactions with social workers
at DCFS, he realized that there is a need for education that
focused on transgender related issues. As part of his macro
project, he will conduct a workshop with a fellow CSULA
MSW student, Gabriel Marmolejo. Topics covered in the
workshop will work on building sensitivity and cultural
humility towards gender identity and expression, development
in transgender lifespan, and transgender related policies
regarding services and housing. The workshop is to be
expected in late March.
Since his enrollment, Phillip has also taken leadership with his
cohort as the President of the Master in Social Work Student
Organization (MSWSO).
Working at DCFS for over ten years, I have come to understand
the importance of hard work and dedication.
There have been many days in the past that I have wondered what it would be like to
work for the contracted agencies that DCFS works with and questioned whether
working for these agencies would be less strenuous. In the last year, working at a
foster care agency, I have come to realize that the grass is not greener as I had once
assumed. Working in the foster care agency has allowed me to see, first hand, the
hard work that occurs behind the scenes when placing a child in a foster family
agency home.
Student Highlight:
Heidi Martinez,
MSW Class of 2016
"Working in the
foster care agency
has allowed me to
see, first hand, the
hard work that
occurs behind the
scenes when placing
a child in a Foster
Family Agency
Working for the agency has allowed me to understand that working as a foster care
social worker takes a number of different skills, given that a foster care social
worker also has different roles. While foster care social workers are generally
assigned approximately 15 cases a months, they are responsible for a multitude of
tasks on a daily basis. As a foster care social worker intern I have had to adjust my
current methods of service delivery to adhere to the needs of the population I am
assigned to work with. While the ultimate goals for the population served are
similar, it is important that a foster care social worker be in tune with the day to day
activities and needs of not only the children but the foster parents who are assigned
to care for these children. A foster care social worker has to advocate for not only
the child but for the foster parents and at times on behalf of the parents as well.
This takes a high level of finesse and understanding for each of the individuals in
any particular case. Additionally, it is imperative that the team members assigned
to work in any particular case be synchronized and committed to similar goals and
Coordination of services, therefore, can only be executed accordingly if the
particular team has a similar understanding and esteem for the goals at hand. I
have come to understand as a DCFS social worker, communication is key to
teaming and working together. What I have learned in the last few months, sadly, is
that the ideal teaming approach rarely occurs. I have found it difficult to
communicate effectively with county social workers and I have noted a particular
trend stemming from the offices that I consequently know are highly impacted by a
high volume of cases. In general, foster care social workers are provided very
limited information on the child’s history and are rarely provided updates unless the
information is specifically solicited by the foster care social worker. This pattern of
communication becomes challenging and results in disruptions in meeting the needs
of children in foster care.
Looking forward, I would like to be an advocate for foster care agencies when I
return to DCFS. I often encourage the staff that I work with to maintain open line
of communication with foster care social workers. I suspect that if foster care
social workers and DCFS social workers attend similar trainings and are given an
opportunity to meet and communicate under more positive circumstances; this will
contribute to the relationship building between the two agencies. Attending
trainings together will not only enhance the quality of communication of the two
agencies, but will also equally train staff from both agencies on topics that are of
interest to both and how to address the specific topics. Attending training together
will also contribute to the harmonization of service delivery in the best interest of
the children that are served by both DCFS social workers and foster care social
Philip Browning, Carla Bykowski, Dr. Siyon Rhee,
Dean Beatrice Yorker, Carol Mroz, Paris Silva
2nd Year Joint Seminar Students, Class of 2015
Student Spolight: Stephanie Rush, MSW Class of 2015
I began my career with DCFS in 1997. I have had the opportunity of
working under 5 Directors with each having made a positive impact.
However, since 2011, Philip Browning has maintained an open
communication policy with all of his employees. He provides the
employees with a weekly message from the Director, keeping the staff
informed of what is going on with the department, words of
encouragement, community events, self care and acknowledgements.
Mr. Browning is also interested in what the staff have to say and
encourages an open dialogue. Also, on any given day you may run into
him at your office water cooler. This is what happened to me.
Mr. Browning was walking past my desk and I decided to start a
conversation with him. I told him I am graduate student at Cal State
LA, in the MSW program and that a requirement of the program is
that students attend a Field Seminar, a forum where students process
what is going on at their internships. This is also a learning
environment where students have the opportunity to hear leaders in
the field. Therefore, it would be an honor if you would consider being
a guest speaker. His response was so warm and gracious, he replied,
“Send me an e-mail”. Well, I did just that.
CalSWEC Statewide Title IV-E Student Day
April 3, 2015
Advocacy and Empowerment in Action: Social Justice in the 21st Century
CalSWEC Student Attendees (Left to Right):
Edison Park, Arlene Jose, Stephanie Rush, Kelly Burgos, Feliza Estrada,
Annabelle Capristo, Elizabeth Pascual, Phillip Lu, Nancy Herrera and
Jasmine Corona (not in picture-taking the photo)
Our CalSWEC Field Faculty & Staff:
Carla Bykowski, MSW
CalSWEC Field Faculty
Stephanie Glenn
CalSWEC Administrative Assistant
Rosa Leslie, MSW
CalSWEC Field Faculty
Elizabeth Medina, BS
CalSWEC Administrative Analyst
Rosa Medina-Carrillo, MSW
CalSWEC Field Faculty
Bridgette Mitchell, LCSW
CalSWEC Field Faculty
Carol Mroz, MSW
CalSWEC Title IV-E Project Coordinator
2014-15 CalSWEC Newsletter Staff: Carla Bykowski & Elizabeth Medina