"The social work program at CBU is what lit the fire underneath me to improve access to care for marginalized populations and people without socioeconomic means." 

Quick Facts

Programs: Master of Social Work
Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Desert Hot Springs, CA
Current City: Desert Hot Springs, CA
Current Job Title: Executive Director

Life at CBU

Why did you choose your major and graduate degree program? What interested you in this particular field of study?
After obtaining my B.A. in psychology, I went on to receive a certification as a drug and alcohol counselor. Working with people struggling with substance use disorder opened my eyes to how much of an impact our environment has on us. Social work was a natural transition for me as I was already interested in case management and improving antiquated systems, so when I was looking for graduate programs I knew my heart would be in social work.

What did you like about being in this program at CBU?
I had the benefit of being in the distance learning program and thoroughly enjoyed being able to attend classes around my hectic work schedule, but also being able to connect in real time on Friday nights was crucial. There was a balance between independent learning and collective learning, without it I'm not sure I would have been able to graduate. I loved the distance learning cohort and the in person residency when we all got to be together in person was one of my favorite experiences.

What did you think about your professors?
My professors were real people and that is what I enjoyed the most. Dr. Mejico, Professor Breitenbucher, Dr. Hays, Dr. Costello and Dr. Gaoena all had a huge hand in shaping me as a social worker and for that I incredibly thankful. In my second year there I was once again paired with professors who were supportive and could challenge me but would do so with grace and compassion. I'm almost positive every single one of them have seen me break down and cry from the weight of running a facility and trying to earn my degree, I was always met with support and encouragement.

Did you complete an internship or any field work? What was your experience like?
I was able to complete my internship at my place of employment. This was another feature of the program that enabled me to finish the program.

How did you grow (spiritually, socially, educationally) while in this program at CBU?
From the Marginalized Populations class, I learned to take a hard look at my own privilege for the very first time in my life. That has allowed me to now focus more on areas that were blind spots for me. Friday night supervision allowed me to process as a student, which was a necessary break as I was a teacher in all other areas of my life. Research forced me to face the fact that I am not perfect (lol), and that as an old dog I can learn new tricks.

Did your program help you figure out your purpose? 
The social work program at CBU is what lit the fire underneath me to improve access to care for marginalized populations and people without socioeconomic means.

Life after CBU

What have you done since graduating?
I was given the opportunity to design and build an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center in Palm Springs. From logo to implementation, I built it through the eyes of a social worker. My mission was to address the gap in access to care and to make sure that people with less resources were given the opportunity to receive the same treatment as people who could pay $30k (which is our rate) for a treatment episode. I included modalities from different cultures and viewpoints in order to build the most inclusive clinical program possible. From Refuge Recovery to Wellbriety, clients learn about it all. We opened our doors in July of 2022, in December of 2022 we secured a contract with Indian Health and in March of 2023 we began accepting Medi-Cal clients.

What are your current job duties?
I oversee all aspects of the business. My hand is in operations, compliance, clinical, business development and the day-to-day operations. I do my best to be a servant leader to my staff and take time to teach new skills whenever possible.

How has your program and time at CBU prepared you for your life and career after college?
I was blessed to be building the business at the same time I was taking the leadership class. I was able to write a business plan based on what I learned in CBU classes.

How are you making a difference in the world? How are you living your purpose?
I was able to bring many different cultural components to the center. Wellbriety is designed for the Indigenous population and Refuge Recovery introduces clients to an alternative, more mindfulness approach to 12 steps. I began to work with Indian Health Services to create a contract that would allow more Native Americans to access culturally relevant care.

What are your future plans and goals?
I plan to get my license and open a private practice. I am trained in EMDR and am a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, I will focus on trauma and its relation to substance use disorder.

Would you recommend CBU to others?
I constantly recommend CBU to clinicians who are thinking about going to grad school. My daughter just graduated from UCSD and I am encouraging her to attend CBU for grad school.

Anything else you'd like to add? Anything else we should know about you?
For fun, I purchase and flip abandoned storage units. In January I started a Youtube channel about it called Millennial Treasure Hunters. :)