Meet Your 2017 NASW-CA Student Directors



Student Director North: Therese Gonzales

I am your Student Director North. I am currently a second year Title IV-E MSW student at Cal State East Bay. For foundation year of MSW, I did my internship at Silicon Valley Children’s Fund where I worked closely with high school students in reaching their educational and career goals. As for this upcoming school year, I will be interning at Santa Clara County DFCS office. I am really excited to learn more about the child welfare system during my second-year internship. I enjoy working with foster youth in addition to my passion around women’s rights.

I was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when I was 10 years old. I have learned so much since moving here. Before I started my undergraduate studies, I went to a community college in Fremont, where I was part of the CalWORKs and EOPS programs. The support system in those programs helped me navigate my way out of community college and also helped me earn AA degrees in Social Science and Human Development Studies. I then began my BA in my social work journey at San Jose State and graduated in 2015. After getting my BASW, I worked full-time for a year as a mental health counselor, and then started the MSW program at CSUEB.

Personally, one of the NASW events I enjoy is “Lobby Days.” Not only do I learn how to advocate effectively, but I also get to network with other social work students and professionals. When I first attended in 2014, I realized how much I love the advocacy part of social work and decided I wanted to gain more knowledge in that area and be more involved. I enjoy networking because I love to build relationships with other people.

Other than social work, some of my interests include sports, going on road trips, hiking, and camping. The two sports I enjoy the most are basketball and baseball. Go Giants! I also love being a baseball mom to my 8-year-old son.

I am looking forward to serving as one of your Student Directors in this upcoming school year!


Student Director South: Alicia Saravia

I am your Student Director South. I live in Los Angeles and attend California State University Los Angeles. I will graduate with a Bachelor’s in Social Work in May 2018 and plan on applying for a three-year graduate program so I can have the opportunity to work in the field and slowly acquire my Masters in social work with a concentration in gerontology.

I did not always know I wanted to be a social worker, but I knew I wanted to help. I concluded that majoring in social work will allow me to do so. People keep saying that social work is hard and draining and—on top of everything—it does not pay well, but all of those remarks do not decrease my desire to become a social worker.

It has been a long journey for me. Through the years, I have tried to expose myself to real-life work in different areas. In order to make a living, I have worked as a waitress and given lessons to high school juniors to get high scores on the SATs, but none of this was as fulfilling as volunteering with hospice care, and working at different homeless shelters. These experiences awoke in me the desire to help and be a part of something bigger.

My educational journey started in early 2012 at my local community college. Being the first one in my family to go to college, it took a long time for me to build the courage to go back to school after I graduated from high school in 2009. Now with great eagerness, I am less than a year away to acquiring a Bachelor’s degree. The most exciting thing about senior year is field internship. I start this fall and will be working with South Central Training Consortium, a non-profit institution that works with homeless populations and victims of domestic violence. Between this experience, and being part of the NASW board of directors, my anticipation to grow as a professional is elevated.

Up to this point, I am still trying to figure out what being an NASW Student Director involves. I was in shock for a very long time that I had been elected. Now that the shock has faded, I can only be thrilled to be surrounded by professionals who are experienced in this amazing helping profession that I have also chosen. My greatest hope is to be a useful tool as I undergo this amazing opportunity.