In early October, three Walla Walla University social work students attended the annual Latinx Social Workers Organization conference in Seattle, accompanied by WWU social work faculty. The event reflected the mission of the organization to connect Latinx social workers from around the country, providing an opportunity for networking and sharing resources.
Keynote addresses, exhibits, networking opportunities, and workshops were presented by social workers from universities around the country. Schools also promoted their master’s and doctoral programs. Topics of the conference included strengthening education initiatives, leadership and social change, social justice, and inclusion.
Deisy Haid, dean of the School of Social Work and Sociology at WWU, was one of the keynote speakers at the conference. Haid presented her doctoral research that focused on Latina leaders in nonprofit organizations. She examined the experiences that Latinas have on their way to leadership positions, the factors that help and hinder them, and the kinds of bicultural support that are identified. She emphasized the importance of merging cultures while celebrating individuality in advancing the careers of Latinas.
The only students volunteering at the conference were from WWU. The three students who attended were able to assist in running the conference and answer questions for people. Attending the conference was exciting for the students because they were able to see other successful Latinas in the social work field. According to Haid, the students were motivated and excited to pursue the profession. “It’s really inspiring to see people who are like you in spaces that you normally wouldn’t,” said Haid.
Haid found the end of the conference to be particularly inspiring. The group closed the event by participating in a unity clap, listening to music, and dancing together. “The community was the most important part,” Haid said. She hopes students will be able to make industry connections, learn from experts, and otherwise benefit from the conference again in future years.
Discover more opportunities available to WWU social work students and connect with the department by visiting wallawalla.edu/social-work.
Posted Nov. 4, 2022.