College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Department of Social Work

Fall 2015 MSW Newsletter

  • Greetings! We hope you will enjoy reading of all the many wonderful things the MSW Program has been doing this past semester. We welcome one new faculty member, celebrate the many accomplishments of others, develop new community initiatives and provide scholarships to our outstanding students. We have also begun a closer examination of who we are and what we do. Concerns raised by students of color regarding micro agressions in the MSW Program and in the community prompted awareness, acknowledgment, and a pledge to improve the culture and climate of our Program last spring. A number of initiatives have taken place since, including faculty training, a program-wide orientation for incoming students, a series of diversity dialogues and related forums featuring MSW students, faculty and community partners. This work is challenging and will take some time, but as Frederick Douglas once said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” It is anticipated that these important changes will take place along with substantive and long term structural changes that will sustain a socially just and healthy environment for our students’ education, and ultimately, a healthier environment for the clients they will be serving.

  • MSW Professor and Program Director Dr. Julie Cooper Altman was invited to lecture at the International Summer Social Work School at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland this past summer. Titled “Social Work and Social Science in a Global Context”, the three week course was provided to over 80 students from 18 countries. While there, Dr. Altman made contacts for the upcoming inaugural study abroad opportunity for social work students at CSUMB, to be held in Norway in May 2016.

    Dr. Altman also spent a week in Costa Rica this past month, visiting health and human service agencies with the Dean and faculty of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services (see photo). Efforts to expand collaborative efforts with UNIBE university there were furthered, including the possibility of our first international field placement, faculty research collaboration and a second possible study abroad opportunity for social work students, tentatively planned for January, 2017.

    UNIBE Costa Rica
  • Through a project funded by Monterey County Behavioral Health and overseen by Interim, Inc., five MSW students are receiving their field education via a specialized learning unit situated in Chinatown. Under the supervision of Professor Paul Wright and in collaboration with MSW field supervisor Jeff Lehner, students are putting their skills to work in helping some of Salinas’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised homeless persons. Their goal is to help residents obtain work and housing through the provision of social work services. This unique and intensive model of field supervision is novel in social work education and particularly effective in high need areas with few professional social work resources. We applaud these students and their efforts in this difficult work!

  • The MSW Program is extremely pleased to welcome new Assistant Professor Sam Terrazas who joined the CSUMB community this semester. Dr. Terrazas’s research agenda revolves around the mental health of farm workers including their access and use of mental health care and the development of a low cost and accessible treatment for depression and anxiety for farm workers and marginalized and oppressed groups. His research has also included youth in foster care and secondary trauma. This line of research has expanded to include the examination of the intersection between mental illness symptom reduction and recovery through the practical application of biomarkers in the treatment of mental illness.

    His recent publications include:

    Terrazas S.R., Revtyak, K., Mendez, K., Padilla,M. D.A. Peralta, & Moore. J.S. (2015) Do culturally sensitive psychological support interventions reduce stress in Black and Hispanic professional health science students: a pilot study. Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention. 1:019

    McCormick, A., Schmidt, K., Terrazas, S.R. (In Press). Foster family acceptance: Understanding its impact on the lives of LGBTQ youth. Children and Youth Services Review.

    Dr. Terrazas
  • Field Coordinator Amy Bullas with MSW students Monique Ford and Jacqueline Arlew and MSW alumna Sarah DiGrazia recently presented at the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting ( see photo below). Their presentation focused on research they engaged in over the past year, and was titled “Integrating a Resiliency Framework into a Foundation Year Field Seminar.” This is the second time CSUMB students have presented at the CSWE APM – the world’s largest gathering of social work educators. The meeting this year was held in Denver.


The MSW Student Association has been busy this fall with a number of events. With one of their goals being to bring students together outside the classroom, the students hosted their first student brunch, are co-sponsoring the program’s holiday party, and hosted a kick-off party for NASW’s Lobby Day event on campus for MSW students. The group recently launched a community Facebook page, and have been strong supporters of all MSW initiatives. The Association is an avenue for students to get involved in student leadership, network with other MSW students and participate in NASW activities to advocate for social and economic justice. Thank you for all you do, MSWSA.

MSW Student Association members
  • In October, MSW students were treated to two opportunities for expert instruction. Ken Jue ( was on campus twice, to consult with the student unit in Chinatown and advise students in the Advanced Behavioral Health course. Mr. Jue’s professional social work career began in the 1960’s as a caseworker, and he has since built a formidable career in both domestic and international endeavors that have largely focused on building mental health care from a community perspective. He is the developer of a new SAMHSA validated program known as InShape, which focuses on the health of persons with chronic and persistent mental illness.

    San Diego State University Social Work Program Director Dr. Mindy Hohman visited our program a few weeks later and provided a 3-hour workshop on “Motivational Interviewing” to our MSW students. Dr. Hohman is one of the foremost social work experts on this evidence-based intervention and has published the standard textbook in this area. We are pleased to have had her here!

  • CSUMB MSW student Heather Metz was one of five state-wide recipients of the 2015 Research Award for MSW Students. The awards are co-sponsored by the California Social Work Education Coalition’s R&D Committee and the California Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work. They were established to encourage and support student research that will contribute to the evidence base for policy and practice for public human services. Heather’s research was done in conjunction with Community Human Services in Monterey. She writes, “I noticed in my working with and talking to youth that they often get “stuck” in the homeless life and found it difficult to reintegrate into mainstream society. As I learned more about trauma and trauma-informed care throughout my graduate school education, I realized that there seemed to be a correlation between homelessnss and trauma. After speaking with the program director of Safe Place and the executive director of Community Human Services, I found that there had been no research done on the unique population of youth who receive services at Safe Place. Additionally, the issue of homelessness on the Monterey Peninsula is often misunderstood and talked about with a negative connotation.“ I felt the need to do a study on trauma and homeless youth so that our program could better meet the needs of our client base, but also so that my research could hopefully educate the greater population of Monterey County about the complexities that make up homelessness. “ We congratulate MSW alumni Heather Metz and salute this important contribution to the knowledge base of our profession

    Heather Metz
  • Our Outreach, Recruitment, and Admissions Coordinator, MSW alumna (’14) Jennifer Costelow-Colvin has been busy this fall recruiting new students. She presented at community agencies, CSUMB classrooms, and participated in various graduate fairs including the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education at UC Santa Barbara where over 1000 high performing students from diverse backgrounds attended to gain information and meet recruiters from many different graduate programs. While in Santa Barbara, She was invited by the UCSB Career Center to be part of the Psychology and Social Work Admissions Panel where she provided insight into applying for graduate school as well as the social work profession.

    UCSB Admissions panel
  • Professor and MSW Program Director Julie Cooper Altman was appointed a member of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning Department’s Post-Bac Advisory Board in September, and was named to a three year term on the Global Commission of the Council on Social Work Education. She was also recently tapped to be a section editor for the journal “Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping”.

    CSUMB MSW Title IV-E Coordinator Anne Herendeen and Field Coordinator Amy Bullas jointly presented at the CalSWEC summer institute in June, 2015 themed “Creating Supportive Learning Environments in Child Welfare Social Work”. Their session was entitled “Clearing the Pathway and Supporting Child Welfare Employees in MSW Programs: What Does the Future Hold?”

    Former Interim MSW Program Director Jim Raines was recently elected as President-elect of the School Social Work Association of America.

    Our Assistant Professor, Lisa Stewart’s most recent publication is in the following chapter titled “Challenges and Supports for Employed Parents of Children and Youth with Special Needs”. The chapter details parents raising children and youth with special needs due to disability or compromised physical or mental health who often find the exceptional care they provide resulting in caregiver strain and competes with workforce engagement.

    Brennan, E.M., Jivanjee P., Rosenzweig, J.M., & Stewart, L.M. (2015). Challenges and Supports for Employed Parents of Children and Youth with Special Needs. In T. Allen & L. Eby Oxford Handbook of Work and Family. New York: Oxford University Press.

    We said good-bye to Ashley Rodriguez, our Administrative Support Coordinator, in October as she left to join her husband in Reno, Nevada with his new job, and pursue the next chapter in their lives. We welcome Maria Osorio as her replacement, who will begin in December 2015. Maria is a Monterey native, is bicultural / bilingual, and a current volunteer for Girls, Inc. She is very eager to become part of the MSW team!

Long time MSW program supporter and CSUMB Director of Health and Wellness Services, Caroline Haskell, was recently named Social Worker of the Year by the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Professor and MSW Program Director Julie Cooper Altman presented Haskell with the award in San Francisco at NASW-CA’s Annual Conference noting the many characteristics that make her “the best example of a social worker” that Altman could ever imagine. These included passion, brilliance, irreverence, balance, bravery, courage, advocacy, warmth, and empathy.

julie and caroline

OSHPD Grant Project

The MSW Program received a grant this year from the State of California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Healthcare Workforce Development Division, to develop the professional social work pipeline in Monterey County. This program engages Hartnell Community College students in a year-long program of mental/behavioral health career-related workshops, visits to behavioral health care settings, and experiential activities (see photo). These will be delivered primarily through small group exploration and interaction, guided by emerging MSW social work professionals, all who will be trained in cultural and linguistic responsive practice. Amy Bullas from CSUMB and Hartnell’s Gaby Lopez have taken the lead in developing this spectacular opportunity to share and grow our wonderful profession.

The group was recently privileged to have a visit with Jerry Tello (, an internationally recognized authority in the areas of family strengthening, leadership development, and cross-cultural issues. Jerry’s leadership and work in La Cultura Cura has been instrumental in developing culturally responsive social work practice in our program and beyond.


100 Who Care Scholarship Celebration

On September 28, 2015, the MSW community celebrated the successful completion of the “100 Who Care” fund-raising campaign with a gala event. With over 60 students, faculty, community partners and friends in attendance, the program recognized the three leaders of this campaign for first year MSW scholarship support. Please join us in thanking Wayne & Maureen Lavengood and Anne Herendeen for their vision, tireless efforts, hard work and incredible generosity. (see photo) First year MSW student recipients who were each awarded $1,000 scholarships include the following students below. Congratulations to you all! Rocio Pinzon (Lopez) Jesse Jimenez Elizabeth Zamora Andreina Aguilera Irma Zamudio Lisette Gonzalez Victor Martinez, Nancy Mendoza Kesha Ingram Rosalina Valdez

100 Who Care scholarship donors

MSW Scholars

Eight $5,000 scholarships were recently awarded to second year MSW students planning to pursue careers in public mental health. Funding for these awards was made possible by the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS) Collaborative, in a grant from the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). These dollars have supported CSUMB’s MSW program from its inception, and continue to provide vital funding for local students invested in giving back to their Monterey County communities. We thank CIBHS for their long and ongoing support! Scholarship recipients include: Guadelupe Gonzalez, Erica Prindle, Sabrina Rice, Kathleen Guerrero, Mariela DeLaTorre, Blanca Rocha, Maria Rivera, and Kendal Lardie.

Additionally, for the fourth year in a row, CSUMB MSW students interested in public mental health have been awarded Mental Health stipends from the California Social Work Education Consortium. These $9,250 awards support our students placed in public mental health settings and are intended to stimulate interest and growth in the mental health workforce in California. This year’s awardees include Hugo Garcia, Gabriela Perezchica, Robyn Martinez, Crystal Rodriguez, Grant Helm, Tiffany Avery, and Julianne Hunsdorfer.