NASW-CA Announces 2015 Award Winners

NASW-CA has announced their 2015 Award Winners. Caroline Haskell was named Social Worker of the year, Shaaron Gilson and James Patrick Mace were both awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards, and Assembly Member Luis Alejo was named Public Citizen of the Year.

FEATURE  caroline_haskell pic                                                          post Aug 5FEATURE Shaaron Gilson                                                                  post Aug 5FEATURE  PATRICK MACE  headshot posted Aug 5FEATURE Alejo  Luis headshot                                                        post Aug 5

Left to right: Caroline Haskell, Shaaron Gilson, Patrick Mace, Luis Alejo

Social Worker of the Year Caroline Haskell, LCSW and Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD), is the Director of Health and Wellness Services (HWS) at California State University, Monterey Bay, Founding Director of the Personal Growth and Counseling Center (PGCC), and previously served as the Interim Associate Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs.

At CSUMB, where she has worked since 1996, Haskell was instrumental in the development of their new MSW program that began in the fall of 2010. She has launched, chaired or served on a number of campus and community committees related to social justice and the health and well-being of her community. Haskell established CSUMB’s Postpone Project under the direction of the Monterey County Department of Health and has served in leadership as well as advocacy roles for organizations on local, state and national levels.

Shaaron Gilson, LCSW, DCSW, one of the Lifetime award recipients, has more than 40 years of experience in the social work field with a history of working in mental health, probation, community mental health, health maintenance organizations, child welfare, and social work education. Throughout her extensive career, she has worked for numerous private and public community organizations in different areas of California.  

One of her most current accomplishments is the development and implementation of a Translational Social Work Practice-Research Roundtable three years ago. It works to bring social work practitioners, from various backgrounds, together to facilitate new research relevant to the field. Even after retirement she continues to work, volunteer and mentor in the community.

Lifetime Award Recipient Dr. James Patrick Mace is currently an Associate Professor at the California State University, Chico School of Social Work. He has over 40 years of experience in the field and has been instrumental in the development of two MSW programs in the country. He has taught thousands of students in West Virginia, California, Alabama, Japan, Hong Kong, and Texas. He’s highly involved in encouraging social workers to play a part in policy advocacy and has an interest in issues related to politics and social policies.

His extensive career includes work in a psychiatric hospital, community mental health, forensic social work, private practice, and, of course, teaching. He is an elected representative for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences for the Academic Senate at CSU, Chico and has served on a number of committees benefiting the Democratic Party and his community.

Public Citizen of the Year, Assemblymember Luis Alejo is currently serving is third and final term with the CA State Assembly for the 30th District which represents a greater portion of the Monterey Coast and south Santa Clara County. He received his Juris Doctorate (JD) at UC Davis and also holds a Masters of Education Degree in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard. Alejo’s career has always been focused on helping others; upon graduating from University of California, Berkeley, he taught special needs students and at-risk youth. After attending law school, as a young lawyer, he worked for California Rural Legal Assistance.

Alejo has authored landmark legislation to increase the minimum wage (AB10) and to authorize undocumented adults the opportunity to become licensed to drive (AB60).  These bills, signed into law, had a positive impact on millions of Californians, most of whom are low-income earners. He has continued to address racism and economic disparities and shows a strong commitment to working for social justice and advocating for underserved populations.

The award winners will be honored at NASW-CA Annual Conference on Friday, October 9, 2015 at 9:45am. The Conference will take place at the South San Francisco Conference Center at 255 South Airport Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 94080.

For more information regarding the ceremony contact Cheryl Raynak, Conference Director at (800-538-2565) ext. 2115 or