Meet your New NASW-CA Student Directors For 2020-2021!

Student Director – North

Michelle Yu (She/Her/Hers),
BSW Candidate 2021 – San Francisco State University

I think social work is a career where you are able to help people whether in micro, mezzo or macro perspective. It is a broad career that allows social workers to choose the area they want and to then figure out the specific area they want to work in. I guess my passion to pursue social work is from the idea I have in my mind. I have an idea for my social work career; senior services will be my purpose to work on as a social worker in future. It is going to be a huge issue for the aging population and I think I should address help for seniors since they put in the efforts to build a wealthy society and it is time for them to gain the results they put when they were young. The aging population should not be forgotten.

People usually make some mistakes in life, work, or study, but they do something worth being praised for as well. I choose to regularly self-reflect to balance the things worth appreciating and the things that should be reflected on in the process. Knowing balance between these is a key to success in the field of social work because social workers always stand in the situation between something they did well and something they did not do as well as expected. I think being human and to self-reflect on life is an important element as a social worker.

I enjoy watching TV dramas in my free time. I get inspiration about life through watching dramas and I can have a self-reflection from the inspiration. I think it is amazing to get an inspiration as direction for my regular self-reflection. The other way for me to take care of myself is getting enough sleep. It helps you with motivation, energy and to concentrate your spirit especially under stressful circumstances. I always do these two activities to maintain self-care in my spare time.

My plan is to continue the projects from the student directors last year then think about how to develop and improve on those projects. Old things are not always bad or need improvement, but if they are a treasure, it is a good idea for them to remain! Finally, don’t forget to sign up for NASW events – although they will be held virtually this year!

Student Director – South

Joseph Burton (He/Him/His),
MSW Candidate 2021 – University of California, Los Angeles

I have witnessed and experienced many unfortunate circumstances that have left me socially and economically disadvantaged. I have always believed that education is the ultimate equalizer for an individual to raise their socioeconomic status. This is why I take my education so seriously. Attending UCLA is a personal goal that I have publicly announced to many and I’m blessed to be able to consider myself as a worthy social work candidate. 

I have acquired a tremendous amount of perspective from my past, which has allowed me to become such a passionate and resilient individual today. In a traumatic way, I was removed from my family and placed in foster care. Because of the adversities I endured at home, I suffered academically. When I found stability is when I found myself having more success in school. Every time I have graduated from academic institutions have been some of my most proud moments of my life. I am a year away from graduating with my MSW from UCLA. I know my community of supporters is proud of my accomplishments. But more importantly, I am proud of what I have achieved and who I have become.

I have been told that I have become a figure in my community, an inspiration to others, and a positive role model for individuals coming out of foster care. I have used my gift of touching the hearts of people to help raise funds for local nonprofits such as The National Federation of the Blind, Just in Time for Foster Youth, Promises 2 Kids, and Foster Opportunities, Walden Family Services. I have been an integral part of developing the Foster Youth Retention Success Transition (FYRST) program at Palomar College. My most recent achievement is establishing my very own 501(c)(3) organization called the Hearts for Sight Foundation based out of Los Angeles which services blind and visually impaired persons like me with health-related opportunities. Creating this organization is my way of giving back to a community who has been in support of my goals, dreams and aspirations.

I am a goal-oriented individual. When I returned to college, I set a bold goal to become Dr. Burton. I wanted to receive my bachelor’s in psychology and move onto a Master’s program for social work. After completing my Masters, I am interested in pursuing a doctorate in nonprofit leadership and management. I have learned to work diligently and to make sacrifices in order to reach my dreams, goals and aspirations. I am committed helping establish and foster opportunities to improve the quality of life of those who are socially and economically disadvantage.

Because I care about the standards of our profession, I am committed to be a voice for those students who are often unheard. I embody the values of social work, which I believe are the key factors that foster the betterment of lives. When we consider that today’s students are tomorrow’s practitioners, it is vital that NASW-CA fosters the professional development of social work students so that our profession continues to grow and legitimize progressively. As the Southern Student Director, I am committed to ensuring that NASW-California Chapter provides support to students in the form of professional development via mentorship. We are also committed to providing and bridging learning opportunities such as NASW statewide and national workshops and seminars so that students may further their learning. We also have plans to recognize the amazing work that NASW students are involved with by offering Student of the Year Awards!

Submitted by Alex Michel, NASW-CA Membership Intern and S. Jolene Hui, NASW-CA Director of Membership

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