Awards Recognize Aspiring Social Workers Demonstrating Promise and Commitment to Latino Community
Two students at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work have been awarded scholarships by the Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund (LSWC), which supports social workers with the linguistic skills and cultural competence to best serve the Latino community in New York City. Linel Salcedo will receive a scholarship of $2,000 from LSWC, with a matching scholarship of $2,500 from Wurzweiler, and Cristina Farrera will receive $1,000 from LCSW, with a matching scholarship of $1,000 from Wurzweiler.
“We are extremely proud of these students and proud of the work they have done and will continue to do in the Latino community,” said Danielle Wozniak, Dorothy and David I. Schachne Dean of Wurzweiler. “Their achievement is consistent with Wurzweiler’s emphasis on cultural competence, practice within a diverse world and social repair.”
“These students demonstrate significant promise to the field of social work and commitment to the Latino community,” said Wurzweiler Professor Gary Stein. “They have really shone in and out of the classroom.”
Salcedo is a first-generation American whose parents moved to New York from the Dominican Republic. Social work always appealed to her because of its holistic approach to each client’s struggles: “Social workers are problem solvers and I see myself in that way,” she said. “I hope to positively impact the Latino community by tackling the issues that affect them in their daily lives.”
Salcedo is especially passionate about palliative care, hoping to work with elderly patients in hospitals who she feels are at the greatest disadvantage in modern society. “In particular, I want to help older Latinos and African Americans who get left behind in today’s healthcare system,” she said, adding, “Of course, I hope to help anyone who comes through my door, as well.”
She decided to attend Wurzweiler for her MSW after hearing the school’s previous dean, Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, speak at an open house; Hendricks played a foundational role in creating LSWC. “I came to love the school’s openness and attitude towards change and inclusivity,” said Salcedo. “I felt that I could prosper in such an atmosphere of hope and warmth.”
Farrera’s family hails from Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. “Growing up as a Latina in a monolingual, Spanish-speaking home in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the Bronx and raised with my siblings by a single mother who was facing constant financial difficulties has made me understand the importance of social work,” she said.
As a single mother herself, she has overcome many challenges, earning two bachelors degrees from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and working as a substance abuse counselor for the past 15 years, an expertise she hopes to continue to develop as a social worker. “I want to assist people in realizing their potential and helping them reach their goals as I have and continue to do,” she said. “I was the first in my family to graduate from college and pursue my dreams. Being able to personally relate to the lives and challenges of my clients has helped me understand and value the importance of a career in social work.”
At Wurzweiler, Farerra found the school’s small class sizes and flexible schedule helped her develop close relationships with her professors and balance her studies with employment. “Wurzweiler helps us develop the skills to support others emotionally and spiritually,” she said. “It has been an exceptional experience that has made an immense impact on me.”