The College of Health and Human Services prides itself in our various departments and schools, which continue to provide students with opportunities to expand their knowledge in their field and explore other professional learning experiences. Master of Social Work student Juan Angel Gutierrez is a prime example of this mission. He was recently accepted into the Council on Social Work Education’s Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). CSWE’s Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) supports the mission of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to reduce the affects of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities by increasing the number of individuals trained to work with underrepresented and underserved racial/ethnic minority persons with or at risk for mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. Through the MFP program he was able to learn about working with minority groups and network with other social work professionals.
How did you find out about the Minority Fellowship Program, and what made you want to apply?
I heard about the MFP through Dr. Lisa Ibañez, my first-year field instructor. I noticed that the requirements and my career goals aligned. As I researched more about the fellowship, I learned that there were more benefits than just the financial support. I became interested in the program's resources, workshops, and networking that are designed to help me grow my competency to work with minority groups.
What do you hope to learn from the experience?
When I got accepted to the Fellowship, I was hoping to learn more about working with minority groups and network with other like-minded Social Workers. So far, the MFP has surpassed my expectations because the learning is not coming from readings and articles. We have attended seminars, workshops with guest-speakers, given access to NASW membership, and receiving mentorship from Doctorate fellows and Professors.
How did it feel to be accepted into the program?
When I opened the acceptance email, I felt excitement, joy, and pride while reading the body of the email. As I shared the news with my wife and others, I felt honored and blessed to have been accepted to such fellowship.
What are your professional goals after you complete your degree?
Upon completing my graduate studies, I will be seeking my clinical license and continue to work with Hispanic youth and families. My hopes and goals are to help immigrant families improve their well-being through mental health services.
Any additional thoughts on your program at CSULB?
I am grateful to have had professors who challenged my thinking, inspired me, and were honest and caring in difficult times.