Social Work Online MSW Student Spotlight: Angelina Torres

Angelina Torres

Please tell us about yourself. 

I’m Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Native American. My tribe is the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, in South Dakota. I am a mother of three wonderful humans. I have a passion for working in the mental health field, and with suicide prevention. I currently work at Humboldt County Child Welfare, and I truly enjoy my work. It is important to me that I make a positive impact in the lives of the families I work with.

What motivated you to enroll in the MSW program?

Breaking generational curses for my family was a huge motivation for me to enroll in the MSW program. I am the first in my family to hold an MSW degree; I’m a first generation college graduate. I wanted to pave a way to higher education for my children, and I knew that I needed to set the example for them. For me, the way out of poverty was higher education.

How has the MSW program positively impacted your life?

The MSW program has impacted my life in a positive manner. The MSW program has a Native American emphasis. I was accepted at USC, but chose HSU because of the Native American emphasis. I knew there was still work for me to do with reconnecting to my culture. Growing up I wasn’t connected to my Native American heritage, and that impacted my overall being. I didn’t get to participate in my culture or traditions, I wasn’t taught about the historical content, and I missed out on a lot. I didn’t know about genocide, boarding schools, and I didn’t understand how historical trauma impacts our people. This program really put my life into perspective and I was finally able to connect the dots. This program has helped shape and change my lens. It wasn’t until I started attending HSU that I even located the specific tribe that I’m a part of. Being able to understand concepts and how people can become impacted by trauma has really helped me in my line of work. HSU has made a lasting positive impact on my life. I am able to teach my children their Native American cultures and traditions. I will be forever grateful for all of the professors at the social work department, they were able to teach me all of the pieces that I’ve been missing throughout my life.

What were/are the most memorable growth moments for you in the program?

For me it was learning how to embrace empathy and addressing my own biases. I was taught how to be open and willing to recognize the feelings and emotions of others. In order to be in my personal and professional roles, I learned quickly that I needed to check my own biases. I’m thankful for these growth moments from HSU.

What else would you like to share about your experience as a student in the MSW program?

The professors in the Social Work department are wonderful, and if you attend HSU, you will gain an amazing education!